Tech-Less to Techie
Technology in the Classroom
I have my technology. Now What?
In Katie’s last post she shared how she went from a tech-less teacher to a techie teacher. In her case, she slowly added various pieces of technology to my classroom each year. Katie says:
Integrating technology into my classroom was not all rainbows and unicorns. It was frustrating, chaotic, and tested my patience. Yet, through trial and error, I was able to come up with the best way to run my classroom with these new snazzy learning tools.
Now she reviews a few very important ground rules for using the devices.
Rule 1: YOU MUST WASH YOUR HANDS!
I can’t tell you how many times I have wiped snot, spit, left over lunch, etc. off the screens of my devices. I even did a lesson where I showed my students the screen of a device and a white wipe; then wiped off the screen, showed them the wipe that was once white and now was black and green from who knows what. So, if you’re looking for a lesson on germs, just wipe of the screen of a tablet in your classroom and BAM instant health lesson.
Rule 2: TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT GO IN YOUR MOUTH!
A given, right?! Nope! While I haven’t had a student insert a tablet into his or her mouth (yet) I have had an abundance of headphone cords gnawed through like a hungry tribe of mice had a feast. Another instant health lesson on germs! And sadly an unsuspecting LeapReader pen has been spotted in a mouth or two.
Rule 3: WE DO NOT JAB, SLAM, SLAP, THROW, OR DROP OUR DEVICES!
This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s important and, in all seriousness, if my students demonstrate one of these behaviors, they lose their privilege for the day.
The above rules look simple and a bit silly, I’m sure. But just like we have to respect each other in our classroom, we have to respect our technology, too. Once it’s broken it’s gone, and it will not be replaced. There needs to be a classroom culture built around the correct ways to use technology and the consequences for misuse I always tell my students that all the devices in the classroom (SMARTBoard, Nooks, iPads, laptops, LeapReaders) are all privileges. If you can’t handle the privilege it will be taken away until you show me that you can. Respecting technology is a very important conversation to have as you implement it into your classroom Also an important conversation to revisit throughout the year.
GREAT! Now that we have the ground rules here’s a quick rundown of how I integrate my technology into my day. On any given day we are using the SMARTBoard, Nooks, iPads, laptops, and LeapReaders.
The SMARTboard is for my whole group lessons. It’s a time for my students to come together and interact with my lesson and me. The other students are engaged and are rocking with impatience to have a chance to touch the magical SMARTBoard. My favorite thing about the SMARTBoard is the program itself is super easy to use, and I can create my own material in a snap.
The Nooks are used for my Listen to Reading station during our independent reading time. As I mentioned in my previous post, traditional books on tape (I have no idea if people still use tape players) or books on CD (a little more 21st century) are not useful for my students. The Nook with its “read to me” books is a great alternative. Prior to introducing the iPads into the classroom the Nooks were also used for a math center and a word work center since they are capable of having apps. The Nook also allows you the ability to password protect the teacher profile and set up profiles for the students. I was able to have a word work, math, and listen to reading profile. It was a one stop shop, but just like all technology the Nooks are old and growing older by the minute as more and more students use them.
The laptops, like the Nooks, are used during our independent reading time for the students to work on their phonics program or the reading program we use. But, like the Nooks, they are old and growing older by the day. The nice thing is they are comfortable and easy for the students to navigate
Research and Projects
The iPads are used for working on projects, research, creating presentations, accessing our class Google Drive, and math centers. The ease of use, the multitude of apps, the variety of productivity tools, and the ability to connect my iPad with the classroom projector makes the iPad my favorite piece of technology. I could talk forever about how much I love having iPads in the classroom, but it’s enough to say iPads are the easiest piece of technology I’ve ever integrated into my day.
Like I said at the beginning, integrating this technology was not all rainbows and unicorns. There were massive fails, and lots of tweaking, rethinking, retrying; but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Before I start a big project or lesson, I always tell my students, “It’s technology. We’ll see if it wants to work with us today.” Always keeps things interesting.