Do you remember the first time you sat down to write out your lesson plans for your class? They were probably the most detailed lesson plans that you have written in your teaching career. But as time has gone by, there is a very good chance you just keep it to the basics now. Your lesson plans are probably one or two sentences long for each subject area every day. However, perhaps you should add another sentence or two into the plans and incorporate technology into every class period.
Start With the Basics
If you are not the most advanced person and have a limited knowledge of technology, you may not know where to begin. It is easy to feel a bit stressed out when you are trying to change up lesson plans that you have been using for the last decade. For this reason, start simple. Try to find a short video online that corresponds with what you are teaching in class. No matter what the topic, the internet is growing by the day. You will be able to find something that relates to the topic you are currently teaching. Plus, we all know how students have different learning styles. By presenting something on the screen for them to view, you could be reaching students that otherwise would not grasp the concept.
Build From There
In every class, there is usually a couple of writing assignments once or twice a week. In this age of technology, it is easy to have your students submit all of their assignments electronically. Google Docs is a free program for all students where they are able to share their documents with you in a matter of moments. In addition, it is all based in the cloud. There will never be another opportunity for a student to say they left their homework at home because they are now able to access it from any computer device in the world.
Include Apps and Websites into Your Lesson Plans
With the amount of educational apps and websites available for free, there are much fewer needs for textbooks anymore. You can do a search yourself and find ones that relate to the topic on hand or you can make it a project for the students to share with the rest of the class. For instance, if you are teaching algebra, there are apps and websites that will act as the student’s private tutor in helping them strengthen their skills by submitting them a string of math problems. If you are instructing on parts of speech, you will be able to find many apps and websites that will drill your students on this topic. Plus, by doing so, you are allowing the students to take control of their own learning more as they can visit these sites whenever they would like.
No longer are you restricted to local presenters inside the classroom. With video conferencing, the whole world is at your fingertips. Reach out and connect with people that can add to the learning of certain topics. An example would be visiting places through Skype or FaceTime with a guide that knows a lot on the topic. If you are learning about the difference between fiction and nonfiction books, reach out to authors that will talk to your students live on video conferencing. This is something that they will remember forever. The teacher (you) would act as the facilitator and put all of this planning together, but then the expert would come in and offer their own take on everything. And once you have worked with a person through video conferencing a few times, you will be able to pick and choose the presenters for your class.
Create a Classroom Podcast
Have you ever dreamt about being in radio? Well now is your chance. You can create a weekly podcast about not only what was covered in class during the week, but also what is coming up in the near future. And if you have any kids that are absent, this will give them a good chance to catch up quickly. You can put together the podcast for the first month or two, but then assign certain students to take it over and see what they can do with it. They may just amaze you with their work.
If you are still uncertain about your tech skills working in the classroom, iAchieve can definitely help! We offer a wide range of professional development, including on how to use technology more productively in the classroom. Soon enough, you will have the rest of the teachers coming to you to ask for tech ideas that they can use.
By: Ryan Crawley