Just because some students attend a traditional brick and mortar school does not mean technology cannot be implemented within lessons and activities. Some of the best and most effective lessons are centered on technology: Smart board lessons, researching online, virtual field trips, interactive educational games and activities, PowerPoint presentations, and many more options are available for use by the educator in the traditional classroom. Technology can be used as little or as much as the teacher deems necessary to add impact and draw the students’ attention to the lesson being presented. For tips on planning lessons that include technology look at Microsoft’s teachers’ guide, lesson plans, and how-to’s. You can also find great ideas for using PowerPoint presentations here.
When teaching at any level in a traditional classroom, it’s tough to find a happy medium for teachers and students when presenting lessons and activities by the book. There are a certain number of standards that need to be covered each school year within each grade level for each subject. A simple (and to most students, boring) lesson covering a math concept can be spiced up and made more interesting with technology. Using an interactive game or activity through an educational website can help students work with the concept and gain a better understanding of it through hands-on experience. In the elementary grades, reading is a must in curriculum.
In Florida, there is a mandatory reading block ninety minutes in length that needs to cover guided reading, group reading, and learning new reading concepts. This can get pretty tedious for younger students, especially if the lessons are the same in nature and the students are always reading out of the book. Now, the reading textbook is a must, and teachers must cover specific guidelines using it. But that doesn’t mean that technology cannot be used after the mandatory reading is done. Smart board activities can be used as a follow up and review of the key features of the stories read, and there are websites available now through the textbook companies that offer supplemental skill activities related to the material being covered in the classroom. For some great ideas for working with the younger grades read through Teaching Children Part 1 and Part 2.
With history and science, the World Wide Web is a wonderful tool. Students of any age group can benefit and enjoy a virtual field trip. Doesn’t the thought of reading about dinosaurs get better and more interesting if, as the teacher, you can include a virtual field trip to the Smithsonian? Students will love being able to see it and interact with it, and the teacher can further enhance the learning experience with questionnaires and idea boards related to the concept being learned. With history and science, there are tons of websites and interactive media that the teacher can use to increase student interest and awareness and make the learning experience exciting and enjoyable. Check out these sites for some great ideas on implementing technology into history and science lessons:
- the Smithsonian Education site
- SMART board resources
- Interactive activities (all subjects and all grades up through college level)
And these are three sites that discuss virtual field trips and offer them through links as well:
- Virtual Tour through the Smithsonian
- 5 Best Virtual Field Trips
- Ed Tech: 7 Virtual Field Trips Every Teacher Should Know About
A traditional classroom does not have to be a boring and unimaginative one. There are so many resources out there for incorporating technology into the classroom lessons. With any grade level, lessons can get boring if presented in an old-fashioned, dated, and monotonous way. With many schools adopting the virtual environment, the traditional classroom teacher needs to evolve as well. With an arsenal of quality educational and technological methods, lessons can be modified and enriched with technology-based activities.