Determining the best way to make use of technology in the classroom can be a challenge. Financial limitations, time restrictions, and practical concerns can limit potential positive effects. Here are four guidelines for maximizing your technology resources:
1. Don’t fall for gimmicks.
Technology companies are always on the looking for ways to break into the education market. While their offers of reduced-price tech toys and services might be just the thing your classroom needs, they can also be a huge waste of resources. In other words, if you don’t have a clear idea of how students will be using their new iPad in the classroom, it’s probably not worth the extra cost to write it into the lesson plans.
2. Stay current.
Nothing changes quite as quickly as technology. What was in favor six months ago might be passé with younger students. Further, some companies will sell unsuspecting teachers tech-based teaching aids and programs that are outdated. Staying current will help you avoid investing your resources in second rate, passé, or downright archaic products.
3. Foster creativity, not dependency.
Technology simplifies our lives. In doing so, however, it can create an environment that encourages minimal effort and creativity. Don’t be afraid to ask students to create a presentation using something other than PowerPoint. They will be forced to think outside the box, and you won’t have to see the same slide template recycled thirty times over.
4. Avoid "busywork".
Every assignment should have a clear, designated goal. Assigning a project using a new piece of equipment simply because you have that resource at your disposal wastes student effort. Make it a point to showcase the real-world applications of technology. From an education perspective, technology is only as valuable as it is functional.
This is a guest post by Alexis Bonari. She is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.