Integrating technology in the classroom can oftentimes be a hectic and stressful process, especially with the objectives you are required to get through each and every day. To help optimize this in the most seamless way possible, you need to be thoughtful about how you want your students to utilize classroom computers and iPads with their assignments. Doing this in such a backward-planning manner can not only engage your students into the material, but also shape their responsibilities of their own learning. Eventually, this process can give rise to thoughtful classroom dynamics such as student-centered learning and research-based projects.
To start off, begin internalizing how you currently utilize technology with your students. Ask yourself a series of questions such as: Are you employing technology on a daily basis? If not, what is holding you back (lack of resources or lack of knowledge)? What assignments, other than testing, have your students been exposed to with the computers? What foundational skills do they need before using the computers (note taking skills, knowing how to research, etc.)? These questions will provide you with an introductory starting point when creating your lesson plans for the month(s). The biggest mistake you can do is assume that your students already know how to utilize these technological resources for an assignment. Think of this as a clean slate. They need to learn how to crawl before they can run.
Once you have conceptualized the basics, start thinking of the end goal for your lesson plans. For some teachers, this can be a classroom debate. For others, this can be a research paper. Whatever the case, you need to be absolutely clear what you are looking for them to accomplish from these series of lessons. This overarching end-goal will allow you identify the Common Core standards, technological mini-lesson, and overall timeframe when your lesson plans. Once you have that vision in your mind, now you are ready to create a strong and effective curriculum.
When creating your lesson plan, think of the various both the hardcore skills and Common Core standards your students should know before interacting with the computers. For example, if you are looking for your students to debate on a specific topic, make sure they know how to take notes (try Cornell Notes), the difference between fact and opinion, how to utilize evidence to support their statement, etc. These core skills can be spread across the weeks. While this is happen, try and leverage extra class time, such as Differentiated Instructions, to expose your students to the computers. These miniature assignments will allow them to build a strong foundation before the actual research timeline.
There will be a point where your students will no longer be focusing their attention on you. Instead, their focus will be on their research and the technology at hand. When this happens, think of this autonomy as a good sign. Rather than play the lead role, assume the helping hand and hover around the classroom. These miniature check-ins will allow the students to both interact with the technology and assume responsibility and ownership of their own work. To make this process more effective, try utilizing 30 to 45 minutes for two to three class periods. This is especially beneficial for students who do not have access to this type of technology at home.
Once you have hit your end-goal, understand that this is not the last step. Instead, look at this as the beginning. To continue this momentum, try incorporating new and innovative lessons and assignments that require technology assistance. Remember, the more practice they have with these resources, the stronger they will get in the long run.
To learn more, please visit educationworld.com. They provide various lesson plans, assignments, and tips in how you can best leverage technology and technology-based projects for your scholars.