Strategies for Integrating Technology in the Classroom

How to Integrate Technology

Students not only become more involved in the learning process when teachers thoughtfully and effectively integrate technology into the classroom, but they also start to take more responsibility for their own education. An effective incorporation of technology will transform the dynamic of the classroom and encourage student-centered, project-based learning.

Consider the ways in which you now engage your pupils with technological tools. Do they use technology on a daily basis in the classroom, utilising a range of tools to accomplish assignments and create projects that demonstrate a profound comprehension of the subject matter?

Is the reason you gave for your response, “No,” that you do not have adequate access to technology? Is it possible that you just don’t feel prepared? Or, do you believe that you are prepared but feel that you could use some further support in the classroom? Your journey to technological integration may take a varied form depending on the response you provide to the question. Any classroom is capable of successfully integrating technology despite the wide range of access and readiness levels present there.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do to successfully integrate technology is to acknowledge the changes that may need to take place not only inside yourself but also in the way you approach teaching. When a teacher integrates technology into their lesson plans, they no longer have the ability to command the attention of their students. The degree to which students’ attention is redirected will, of course, be influenced both by the quantity and variety of technological tools (for example, mobile devices, e-readers, laptops, and interactive whiteboards) that are brought into the classroom by the teachers and students. However, this does not imply that the role of the instructor is any less important to the overall process of learning. Although students may be surrounded by technology in their homes, it is a dangerous assumption to make that they already know how to use technology for educational purposes; this is what is known as the “digital divide.” “myth of the digital native,” and you can learn more about it in this blog post that was written by Edutopia called “Digital Native vs. Digital Citizen? Investigating the Dangers Inherent in Certain Stereotypes” The vast majority of students still require instruction or direction in order to make good use of digital tools for learning and collaboration.

Integrating Technology Across the Access Spectrum

As was covered in the section titled “What is Successful Technology Integration?,” the manner in which we define “technology integration” is contingent on the types of technology that are available as well as the level of access that a person has to technology. This term is also contingent on the individuals who make use of the technology. For example, in a classroom with only an interactive whiteboard and one computer, learning will still be concentrated on the instructor, and integration will revolve around the needs of the instructor, which are not necessarily the same as the needs of the students. However, there are a number of ways in which an interactive whiteboard may be used to turn it into a useful tool for the kids in your class. Even if there is only one computer in the room, there are ways to incorporate that machine into your classroom in such a way that you and your students are able to do things that you were not able to do in the past, as opposed to doing the same things that you did in the past in a more streamlined and time-saving manner.

Rural Washington Students Connect with the World: Students in Kristi Rennebohm Franz’s courses have used the Internet for a range of foreign exchanges and collaborative projects. picture Credit: Kristi Rennebohm Franz Rural Washington Students Connect with the World:
You will find a concise overview followed by some suggestions in the following paragraphs regarding the kinds of tools and activities that work well with varying degrees of access to technology. Each of the resources that have a link to it also provides a free version of its service.

If your class has an interactive whiteboard and projector:

If your classroom has an interactive whiteboard as well as a projector, the following applies:

Explore several interactive websites like BrainPOP, for example.
Explore the whiteboard activities page on Scholastic’s website.
Display videos that can be seen online that are relevant to the lessons.
Explore virtual math manipulatives.
Take a look at the software that was developed just for the board.
Make connections outside of the classroom with the help of the videoconferencing tool Skype.
In the event that your room contains only a single computer:

In addition to the aforementioned…
Make a student responsible for taking notes and serving as the class scribe.
Create a blog for the students to work on together.
Visit the Skype an Author Network website for more information.
You should try out Voicethread, a tool for having collaborative multimedia conversations.
Students should be allowed access to resources for review or intervention on a rotating schedule.
Using a Livebinder, you should compile resources for the pupils.
Construct a Google Site to contain the class’s material.
The use of Google Docs should be encouraged for the purpose of encouraging skill practise, research, or the creation of collaborative tales.
Screencasts can be recorded to provide instruction directly on the screen.
This blog article on Eduptopia contains a wealth of additional free resources and ideas.
If your classroom has a pod of three to five computers or you have access to a library that also has pods of computers, the following options are available to you:

In addition to the aforementioned…
Encourage individual student blogging with Kidblog.
Voicethread should be used to produce digital stories by the kids.
Investigate the multimedia presentations that the students have developed by using Google Docs, Microsoft PowerPoint, LibreOffice, or Prezi.
Edmodo, Schoology, and Moodle are three online platforms that can be utilised for the management of course material, assignments, and evaluations.
ToonDoo should be used for the creation of cartoons by the students.
Give students the option of utilising Windows Movie Maker or Animoto to create their own videos.
Students can collaborate on the development of websites using Weebly or Wikispaces.
In the event that you have access to a computer lab or a rolling laptop cart:

In addition to the aforementioned…
The utilisation of screencasts, e-books, and other forms of digital media should give students the opportunity to work through the material in the course at their own pace.
To conduct student polls, you can use Poll Everywhere or Socrative.
Begin real-time conversations in the classroom with the help of TodaysMeet.
Discover the benefits of using Evernote to boost your digital note taking.
If everyone of your students has access to his or her own laptop or netbook:

All of the aforementioned, whenever you want, for as long as you like, whenever you want (especially if students take their laptops or netbooks home).
In the event that you have access to a number of different mobile devices:

Animoto is an app that should be used by kids to create videos.
Use a voice recording software to take notes on the group conversations.
For the purpose of checking their fluency, pupils should record themselves reading aloud.
Give out comics that were generated by the students using the Puppet Pals app.
Provide required readings in the form of e-books.
The Edmodo and Schoology apps allow users to upload content to their courses and gain access to that content.
Carry out some study.
Encourage skill practise through the use of applications that are subject-area specific.
Use tools like Whiteboard to collaborate on projects.
If your pupils have 1:1 mobile devices:

In addition to the aforementioned…
Make use of them as devices with several functions (e.g., e-book readers, calculators, platforms for taking notes).
If you want to project information onto the devices that students are using, try using a platform like Nearpod.
Check out the student polling apps available from Poll Everywhere and Socrative on your mobile device.
The Process of Achieving “Seamless” Integration
Consider the following questions to take your technological integration closer to the point where it can be described as “seamless:”

Getting to “Seamless” Integration

Which skills are applicable to the majority of different kinds of tools, such as “saving a file,” “naming a file,” “finding a file,” and “logging in and out of accounts”? Have these fundamental abilities been mastered by your students?
How many new kinds of tools are you planning to release this year? How many is an unacceptable amount?
How will the use of technology improve your students’ comprehension of the material? Will it lead them to a level of comprehension that they could not have attained without the use of technology?
At the end of the current school year, what degree of integration do you want to have achieved in your classroom? In order to accomplish that objective, what precise steps do you need to take? What is a goal that, taking into account both time and resources, can be considered realistic?
Read the post titled “What Does ‘Technology Integration’ Mean?” on this blog for further information on the different levels of access to technology and what it implies for the integration of technology.

You might also be interested in looking at the remarkable Technology Integration Matrix that was developed by the Arizona K12 Center. In addition to providing information on various levels of technological integration depending on preparedness and existing experience, it also provides connections to examples of instructive activities.

Tips for Shared Hardware

Advice Regarding the Use of Shared Hardware
In schools where students do not have their own computer, distributing resources can be a very difficult task. Listed below are some useful hints about the efficient distribution of resources:

When introducing a new tool to your pupils, you should hold an introductory session with them.
Before putting your kids in front of the tool, you should try it out on your own first.
Prepare a strategy for gathering the work of the students.
Maintain communication with other coworkers who might be interested in using the materials as well.
Take good care of both your time and your resources. Together with your pupils, set targets for the amount of work they will do.
Discuss your plans to use shared technology with your organization’s administration, including how and when you intend to do so.
This blog post, titled “Six Tips for Teachers: How to Maximize Shared Resources,” might provide you with additional information regarding these six suggestions.

Creating a Professional-Development Plan

Developing a Strategy for Your Professional Advancement
It is time to address your personal degree of comfort with the technology that is present in your classroom once you have determined what level of access you have and what possibilities are available to you as a result of this level of access. This can be accomplished by doing an evaluation on oneself, with the assistance of a colleague educator, or with the assistance of an instructional coach from your school or district. As soon as you have an idea of your current degree of ease, you can start formulating a strategy for your own professional advancement. You can accomplish this task on your own, as a member of your “grade team,” or as a component of the personal-growth plan at your school or district. You can also begin to connect with other educators who are experiencing the same issues and looking for solutions by beginning to look for professional-development activities online and outside of your district or school. Visit our Do It Yourself (DIY) Professional Development website for more information and tools on how you can take control of your own professional development.

It does not matter how familiar you are with using technology in the classroom; if you do not have a constant professional development plan, you will never be as effective as you are capable of being. A large number of schools and school districts have made the error of introducing technology into classrooms before developing an all-encompassing plan for the training of teachers. This technology is frequently underutilised or left unused for long periods of time. Be thankful for the new tool(s) that you have at your fingertips if you are a teacher in a situation in which technology has been “thrown” at you with no professional development, and then do your best to learn about how these tools can transform and improve your teaching and have a positive effect on student learning. If you are a teacher in a situation in which technology has been “thrown” at you without any professional development, be thankful for the new tool(s) that you have at your fingertips. You have the option of doing this task on your own or soliciting assistance from your peers, mentors, or other members of your professional learning community.

Technology, in contrast to many other components of education, is subject to ongoing development. It is essential for educators to maintain a current knowledge of the latest advancements and trends in pedagogy as well as new technologies. This is the case in any field. If your school has a tech-integration specialist, then you should make full use of this individual, as they are the front line for the tools that you now have in your classroom or that you may wish to introduce into your classroom in the future.

Hardware and Equipment

One thing can be assured across the board, despite the fact that hardware and software can differ from classroom to classroom, school to school, and district to district: technology, regardless of what kind it is, will fail.

This unavoidable aspect of incorporating technology into the classroom is frequently the primary concern of educators all across the world. Beating this fear must be the first obstacle on the way to successfully integrating technology into your classroom, regardless of whether you are doing so on your own or as part of an initiative being implemented across the entire school or district.

When something goes wrong with your technology, consider the following general guidelines:

Have a backup strategy that does not involve technology.
It is imperative that we, as adults, take our own counsel and put into practise what we preach to our kids, namely that it is acceptable to fail, that we gain valuable experience from failure, and that failure is an inherent part of the learning process.
You should walk your students through the problem-solving process.
Send in a report about the issue (and know to whom this reporting should be done).
Ask for aid. Have someone who is familiar with the solution to the problem demonstrate it to you so that you can remember it for the future.
Utilizing Technology for the Purposes of Feedback and Evaluation
The expanded chance for timely and relevant feedback is one of the most exciting parts of bringing technology into your classroom — and into the hands of your students. This opportunity is one of the most exciting features of bringing technology into your classroom.

Using Technology for Feedback and Assessment

Quick Checks: If you want to know whether or not your students have a sufficient understanding of a particular concept before you move on to the next topic, you can use tools like Poll Everywhere, Socrative, or Mentimeter to get a quick snapshot of the class. Quick Checks are a great way to assess whether or not your students are ready for the next topic. You can gain quick and easy feedback that will assist guide your lesson if you create a short quiz or open-ended response question using one of these tools, and then require that your students use a device that is connected to the internet in order to answer the question.

Tailored Feedback: With the help of course management platforms like Edmodo, Schoology, or Moodle, educators are now able to give personalised feedback to their students in a way that is both speedy and effective. The option to provide personalised comments and notes on student work is a feature shared by all three platforms, as is the provision of a messaging facility for students who might want to send emails with questions or issues regarding the course.

Screencasts can also be used to provide individualised feedback on the work of students. The computer screen that a teacher sees when grading student work can be recorded, and the teacher can annotate both areas in which a student needs to improve and places in which the student has succeeded. Screencast-O-Matic and Jing are two excellent programmes that can be used for this purpose.

Additionally, Evernote is a potent tool for capturing notes that can be accessed by a web browser or the mobile app on any device that has the capability of connecting to the Internet. Users have the ability to record voice notes, which makes it a fantastic tool for providing pupils with individualised feedback. Teachers can email students recordings that have been embedded in notes that they have generated using the app or website. Students can then listen to the recordings. This can be an excellent method for keeping students up to speed on their progress or for providing feedback on a specific task in a manner that is asynchronous. Students have the ability to rewind and relisten to the comments in order to get a better understanding of it or to simply refer back to it whenever they like because it is recorded.

It is important to emphasise that in order for students to use any of these kinds of tools, they need to have consistent access to devices that are Internet-enabled and they must turn in their work in a digital format.

You can read this blog post about utilising technology to deliver feedback to students, which is titled “Using Tech Tools to Provide Timely Feedback,” to learn more about the topic.

The Role of Digital Citizenship

The Importance of Being a Good Digital Citizen
Even while our children are constantly surrounded by technology, this does not guarantee that they are able to effectively apply it to their education. We cannot presume that they are aware of how to employ it in a responsible manner either. We must take the time to explicitly teach about cyberbullying, copyright, plagiarism, digital footprint, and proper conduct online. Just as we teach our children how to handle bullies on the playground, and just as we reprimand a student for copying someone else’s work and handing it in as his or her own, we must also teach our children how to handle bullies online.

Naturally, the content of our lessons and the manner in which we provide them change depending on the grade level. We definitely wouldn’t teach first graders about the nitty-gritty specifics of copyright law, but we might teach them about the different types of material that are appropriate or harmful to publish online. In a similar vein, when we work with high school students, we may briefly go through safe and risky content, but we are more likely to concentrate on students’ digital footprints and how to avoid plagiarism.

It is important to spend some time at the beginning of the year establishing expectations for appropriate behaviour online, appropriate use of material acquired online, and safe use of digital tools. It will be time well spent. You can learn more about teaching digital citizenship by visiting BrainPOP, Common Sense Media, or Edutopia’s Digital Citizenship Resource Roundup, all of which are available online.

It is not a question of whether or not teachers should integrate technology into their classrooms because it is abundantly clear that this trend will continue; rather, the question is how this should be accomplished most effectively. Teachers can begin to reap the benefits that technology can bring to their teaching and to the learning of their students by taking baby steps in the right direction. This procedure does not have to be difficult, but no one can expect to become an expert in the integration of technology overnight. However, teachers can successfully use technology to enhance their teaching and bring learning to life for their students even when they have limited access to the technology provided they prepare well, are willing to take some risks, and keep an open mind.