One of the first and most fundamental ways teachers encouraged children to use technology was through online research, virtual tours, and online searches. Watch videos of the networking projects Northern Journey and the JASON project. Read Suzie Boss’s article on using web-based resources to make your classroom global. Here is an article with links to great virtual tours. Or check out these helpful guides on using online image archives as your primary resource, teaching through virtual libraries, and helping students online.
Media created by students, such as podcasts, videos, or slide shows
One of the key ideas in digital or media literacy is that students relate to media creators and critics, not just consumers. Read an article on podcasts produced by students or read more about high-quality digital storytelling on the Suzie Boss blog. You can also watch a video of students learning to become video creators in Chicago, the Digital Youth Network. Or teach university filmmakers in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Antonio, Texas, or Effingham, Illinois.
Collaborate online tools like Wikis or Google Docs
Communicating with others online can be an effective experience for both teachers and students. Teacher Vicki Davis is an evangelist of such connections; Watch a video on the technique in his classroom or read an article he wrote for Edutopia to help create personalized learning networks for students. Read an article on the basics of wikis, and blogger Audrey Watters points out why wikis are still important. You can also read about Google’s free offers for educators.
Using social media to attract students
While social media tools are still blocked in many schools, students around the world spend a lot of time outside of school on social media. Check out a blog that supports social media in education, and an article that explains how social networking techniques can be used for learning, or another blog about your favorite use of social media tools that a student can use in the classroom. You’ll find lots of tips and advice in our presentation “Creating Social Media Guidelines for School”
Levels of technology integration
In his blog, “What does ‘technology integration’ mean?” Mary Beth Hertz shares four levels of classroom technology she has observed in schools:
Scarce: Technology is rarely used or available. Students rarely use technology to complete tasks or projects.
Basics: The technology is used occasionally / frequently or is available in the lab rather than the classroom. Students are familiar with one or two tools and sometimes use these tools to create projects that demonstrate their understanding of the content.
Comfortable: The technique is used fairly regularly in the classroom. Students are familiar with a variety of tools and often use these tools when creating projects that demonstrate an understanding of the content.
Effortless: Students use technology on a daily basis in the classroom with a variety of tools to complete tasks and create projects that demonstrate a deep understanding of the content.
Despite strong differences in resources and skills from class to class, from school to school, and from district to district, it is possible to integrate technology resources so that the impact of all students affects commitment and learning. And if you, like many educators, have barriers to available equipment or support, we have two great resources: Suzie Bosse’s article “Overcoming Technology Barriers: How to Innovate Without Extra Money or Support” and Mary Beth Hertzs’s blog “Technology Integrating Limited Resources “.
Continue to the next section of the guide, How to Integrate Technology Tools, for more tips on successful technology integration.