Technology is constantly advancing, and our students use technology at younger ages than some of us as preservice educators ever have. I remember getting my first cell phone – a prepaid, flip-phone – in seventh grade. It. Was. Awesome. But now students are coming in to fourth grade with the latest iPhone model. So what can we do to keep up with and include technology in the classroom, and what technology is open to us as educators?
When I student taught at Robbinsville High School, I was fortunate enough to have technology available. As the school tried to transition into a reading/writing workshop format for English, I tried to include technology into our daily activities. The typical day began by teaching students grammar skills through PowerPoint, a Microsoft program most teachers are familiar with. After this activity, they had time to free write, and I would play music softly in the background as they wrote. Mostly, the music was instrumental only, as lyrics could easily distract some students; however, during the holidays, the students begged for Christmas tunes. I used Pandora for this because my cooperating teacher had a paid account, which meant no pesky commercials, but YouTube and Spotify (free or paid versions) are also options.
A resource I frequently made use of was Prezi. Other than the warm-up grammar lessons, all of my presentations were formed on Prezi, and the students seemed to be more engaged the more I customized. Prezi does take slightly longer to set up than a PowerPoint, but the results can be much more engaging. I found it easier to drop in videos, pictures, and links. My cooperating teacher and I tried having the students use Prezi for a book club group project, which garnered mixed results. Some students found the process easy if they used the program before, but students that were new to Prezi often became confused and sometimes frustrated. This program is definitely one that requires time for trial and error.
Technology can be great when utilized in the right way at the right times. Here is a list of more applications I used while student teaching:
Some of us are lucky enough to have technology at our fingertips – from SMART boards to 1-1 Chrome Books or iPads. Others are not that fortunate. We have to work with what we are given, true, but never give up on finding ways to access technology and bring it into the classroom. Students will appreciate your effort and technology knowledge.
As technology grows, we have to take a part in making sure our students leave school knowing how to be a part of the 21st century, which means they need to know how to navigate technology – even if they don’t or can’t access it at home – because most professions require these skills. If we are comfortable using technology and troubleshooting, our students can learn to do the same.
- Chelsea Hahn, The College of New Jersey
To learn more about my student teaching experience, visit: http://clhahn330.wix.com/chelshahn-eportfolio
What experiences or lack of have you had with technology in your own teaching career? What technology did you use? What worked and what didn’t? Share your thoughts!
New Jersey Preservice Education Association (NJSEA)
As the preservice branch of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), we aspire to empower, excite, and inspire all future educators about their upcoming teaching careers in public education.
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