If you are the leader of a school or high up in an education organization, there is no doubt that you will have a firm and strong commitment to your students, as well as the drive to ensure that the experience you are offering to them is the very best that it can be. A big part of this comes down to what you are doing in the classroom, but it also matters what sort of equipment and tools that you have at your disposal. In the modern world, a big part of this means investing in the right tech items and software.
Of course, the subject of tech in the classroom is a broad one, and there are all sorts of different ways in which it can be successfully integrated into the environment in a way that really serves your students to the highest possible level. Taking this into account, here are a few of the best ways of integrating tech into the classroom.
Come Up with a Clear Initial Plan
Before the blog post goes into any more detail about the specific ways in which tech can be integrated into a classroom setting, there is no doubt that a clear initial plan needs to be worked on and developed. This can go such a long way in terms of making sure that it is going to be utilized in the right way. Before you make any decisions regarding infrastructure that needs to change or software that is going to be useful, you should start off by assessing the pros and cons, as well as how you are going to use everything in the best possible way. This way, you are going to help to prevent any wasted opportunities. After all, you do not want to spend vast sums of money on huge technological upgrades – only to find that they are not as useful as you had initially hoped that they would be.
Enhance the Input of the Lessons
First and foremost, you can do a lot in terms of making the input of the lessons more interesting with technology. There are all sorts of strong interactive and visual elements that you are able to build into what you are doing. Not only this but there is plenty to discuss in terms of bringing on board all of the wonders that the internet has to offer through the use of an interactive whiteboard. At the same time, this does not mean that you should rely on one of these too much. Essentially, they should work alongside your lessons to enhance what you are doing and offering rather than totally dominating and taking over. Playing some videos may work from time to time as a way of drawing attention and explaining complicated subjects, but there is certainly no doubt that you can use them too much. Ultimately, as screens start to dominate the lives of younger people in a bigger and bigger way, there is no doubt that they need to be used in the right way in a classroom environment.
Set and Mark Internet Homework Assignments
As more and more people have steadily had access to the internet, this has also meant a sharp rise in the number of internet homework assignments that are being completed. A big part of this is down to the ease and efficiency that this format affords. Plus, there are plenty of platforms that are specifically designed for schools and other learning environments, such as Google Classroom. Ultimately, these can all help out in a big way when it comes to the monitoring and marking of who is completing their homework assignments and when they are handing them back in. It is important that a wide variety of tasks are set and recorded in order to provide students with valuable IT skills, as well as all of the inevitable knowledge that is developed from the individual assignments.
Train and Develop Staff Members
While this is not a specific means of integrating tech into the classroom, there is no doubt that tech can be highly useful in the training and development of staff members, which is bound to have a huge impact on the learning of the students. This can come in to the format of simple online training courses to teaching conflict resolution and other abilities that are going to be required in a classroom setting. There is also the sense that development can take the form of seminars and conferences, which can take place in an entirely digital setting rather than only being restricted to a single location as would have been the norm in days gone by. Again, tech can be used as an aid in many situations in terms of face-to-face learning as well.
Individual Tablets and Laptops
If the school or learning center has the budget to be able to stretch to individual tablets or computers, there is no doubt that these can be highly desirable in terms of being able to assist in independent learning assignments. This way, the school is able to set tasks that can get young people used to using tech at a responsible age right from the get-go. This is clearly demonstrated by the increasing use of these individual items of tech at the primary school level and beyond. Again, as has always been stressed throughout everything that has been discussed in this blog post, there is a lot to be said in terms of using technology in a controlled manner rather than simply assuming that it is going to be a catch-all solution to everything.
Online Grading Systems
In terms of grading, there is no doubt that tech can be used to take care of this in a much quicker manner, as well as communicating with anybody who needs the info, such as parents and guardians. With this info being organized in such a clear manner, there is also a lot more scope in terms of being able to target the specific areas for improvements, as well as the strengths of each student. This kind of system does not only have to be limited to looking at the grades themselves; there is also the option of looking at other areas such as attendance patterns and working out whether there are any options on this front. It is also bound to be easier to pass this information on from one educational institution to the next with the minimum possible fuss.
Communication with Parents and Other Staff Members
One of the biggest revolutions that have occurred in the modern world is, without a doubt, the changes that have occurred in terms of communication. This means that there is certainly a lot more of an ability for quick and easy interaction with people outside of the school or learning institution, such as parents or guardians. Not only this, but staff members are also more able to send quick messages to one another and get back the responses that they require in a shorter period of time than ever before. Again, this comes tempered with the knowledge that instant messaging and email are not always going to be the best way of communicating and should complement – rather than replace – phone calls and face-to-face interaction.
Provision of Specific Tech Classes
Beyond the integration of tech in a general classroom environment, there is no doubt that it can be highly useful to provide classes on the safe and effective use of technology in all walks of life. After all, the genie cannot be put back in the bottle, and tech is bound to play a deeper and deeper role in the lives of all of us, and it makes sense that students are prepared for this in the best possible way. This way, they will be fully prepared for the employment opportunities of the future, as well as different leisure and other lifestyle developments that are bound to occur.
Creation of a School Website
It is now a natural and expected feature to have a school website on which information about the place can be looked up, as well as the latest developments shared. It can also act as an invaluable marketing tool and not just a way of keeping in touch with current students, as well as their parents and guardians. Ultimately, this is something that needs to be refreshed on a regular basis to ensure that it keeps up with modern design standards and provides the level of experience that is so readily expected from it.
Keep One Eye on New Tech Developments
Finally, there is a lot to be said for keeping one eye on all of the developments that are coming thick and fast in the world of tech. This way, your school is always going to be one step ahead of the game in terms of knowledge levels and implementation of new software programs. This will help to keep it right at the cutting edge, and there is less of a danger that it will start to get left behind the crowd. This does not mean that every single technological change needs to be embraced without a second thought. All it means is that you should still have that clear sense that you are constantly reviewing your processes to see where improvements and developments are coming from.
If there is one message that runs throughout everything that has been discussed in this blog post, it is clearly based on the fact that tech should be used to complement and enhance the learning of the students rather than dominating and taking over entirely. This can be seen in all of the different areas that have been discussed. First of all, there is a clear sense that an initial plan needs to be developed with plenty of care and attention to detail rather than simply rushing in and upgrading everything without a second thought. You can then use tech to enhance and improve the input parts of the lesson, ensuring that all students are fully engaged with what is being taught to them. The next important part of a school is the setting and marking of homework assignments – and there is no doubt that tech can play a big part in this.
The most useful resource that you have at a school or learning institution is your staff members, and there is no doubt that tech can be highly useful from a development standpoint if used in the correct manner. If the school budget is able to stretch to the provision of individual tablets and laptops, these can be highly useful in terms of giving students their own independence and the opportunity to complete assignments. Online grading systems are also becoming more and more of a staple feature of schools as they are accurate and allow for the breakdown of different areas that the student is able to develop and enhance. The provision of specific tech classes can also help out in a big way as they ensure that students are ready to deal with the vast changes that are bound to keep coming our way in terms of technological improvements and developments.
The creation of a school website acts as an invaluable platform on which to communicate messages to existing students, as well as acting as a hub of information and a potential place to attract new students in the future for the successful marketing and sharing of the school to a wider audience of potential attendees. Finally, there is no doubt that communication is one of the big areas in which tech has come in and transformed the world, and it should be used to its very best possible level in a classroom environment. All of these areas should be the feature of regular reviews that take place, helping to give a clearer picture of where your school is positioned in its tech strategy and whether there are specific improvements and development that need to be made.