Forms of Teaching with Technology
Technology is interwoven in all our lives to such an extent that teaching with technology is no longer a matter of choice. The choice lies more in the form of technology a teacher uses and the extent to which technology is integrated into a teacher’s lesson plan. Everything from email to creating a website is in the realm of using technology and they take different levels of teacher confidence. Given that today’s students are computer literate, often even before they have their basic reading and writing skills solidified, it is worthwhile for a teacher to acquire the skill sets needed to deal with the tech-savvy generation.
Luckily it is not that hard to find ways to introduce technology into the classroom. As we know, everything from a video to an Internet hooked-up Black Board or Smart Board is technology. In the younger classes these can be used to supplement the information being given verbally or through worksheets. A first grader acquiring vocabulary skills while reading Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ will appreciate watching the ‘Willie Wonka’ movie at the end of the term with his or her friends. The Internet added Smart Board is a great way to have impromptu virtual field trips and it can be a great asset when talking about map skills.
As the grade level get higher, technology can help make the classroom more interactive and can help the teacher forge good relationships with the students. A power point presentation about cell division or a documentary about Martin Luther King, Jr. will add something to the classroom atmosphere. These are tools that can draw in even the most distracted students. A generation geared toward electronics is likely to relate to these more than just to the text book or an oral lecture.
If a teacher is yet to gain confidence with these forms of technology, email is a great way to dip one’s foot in this new set of teachers’ resources. Allowing students the option to contact a teacher by email may encourage students to ask questions in a quieter setting. It can lead to sharing of links and other information that can strengthen study skills. Teachers who try this find that something as simple as a new way of establishing communication can increase communication considerably.
Another way in which to engage with students without too much additional effort is to create a website – the teacher can upload information and links that is relevant for a group of students and make this information available at all times to address the needs of students who have missed a class or have inadequate notes. Once the teacher feels more technologically comfortable, they can consider adding podcasts of lectures also. This may all be more relevant in higher grades, of course.
Teachers can also encourage their students to create a website and share their portfolio of work. These new models of expressing themselves and finding a public voice can be a big boost to a young writer or artist. In this sense a portfolio on a website is like getting published in the school newspaper and the nature of the Web allows for every child to be allowed publication.
Teaching is ultimately a sharing of information and knowledge and all the available technology is a tool for facilitating communication. So, technology is an incredibly powerful teacher’s aid.
There is a need of development for Holistic Approaches to Information Technology, a course offered by the department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the educational Institutes for Studies in Education.
By now you might be wondering “what is e-Teaching?” E-teaching is another term used to describe the incorporation of technology into teaching practices. Often, e-teaching refers specifically to Internet-based teaching strategies, but we have chosen to focus on 4 very different forms that technology can take in the modern classroom. It is important for teachers to learn more about the various types of technologies that can be used to enhance classroom instruction. The majority of young people in Canada today have grown up surrounded by the fast-paced environment that having technology at their fingertips brings; thus, using the technology that students know and love in our teaching may help keep students engaged and interested in course content.
“There are definitely some teachers who have been identified as real [technological]pros; they’re just so technically savvy that they’re the leaders. They’re helping the administration, they help the kids… there’s definitely an identification of who’s really good at it on the faculty as well as in the student body.”
We believe that using technology in the classroom is a positive move. By teaching with technology, we can provide students with greater opportunities for collaboration and peer support, we can help students to develop smart and safe strategies for using technology in their future educational and professional careers, we can appeal to students’ multiple intelligences by providing information and learning opportunities in new and exciting ways, and we can provide students with exciting, interactive, inclusive classroom experiences that may not have been possible in the past.
A Virtual Classroom is a private online meeting space for synchronous (real-time) learning activities. Virtual Classrooms typically include some or all of the following elements:
- text chat- People can type what they would like others to see in real time
- shared whiteboard- A blank screen where people can share information, write comments, and draw pictures in real time.
- presentation capability- Instructors have multiple options for presentation of content from audio/video/multimedia lectures, to self guided power points
- audio- People can share information with a microphone and speakers
- polling or survey tools- The ability to take a survey and publish the results possibly on the white board
- breakout rooms- A way of breaking the session into or more sub rooms where people can listen to a guest speaker, ask questions, or just interact in a smaller setting.
- web tours- Using tools included in many virtual classroom programs people can be taken on a virtual tour of a webpage or project through sharing of a program.
- to search for background information and content material.
- to gain new ideas and resources already available online.
- to bring concepts alive through multimedia.
- to have new opportunities to differentiate instruction.
- as a source for lesson plans.
- as a way to communicate and to collaborate.
- as a source of needed “tools.”
- to keep informed
- to search for information.
- to play games and to enter contests.
- to publish and share.
- to practice what they have learned.
- to further explore topics or ideas.
- to interact and be actively engaged in order to learn.
- to learn through directed research and projects.
- to “show what they know” in new and exciting ways.
There are a variety of different types of activities that can be found in a virtual classroom. There are several types of activities that can occur within the virtual classroom environment. Generally these topics can be split into two different categories, unsupervised activities and teacher led sessions.
*************************SHIVASHANKAR V. JIRLI