Using Technology in the Classroom
In the last 20 years, technology at school has gone from a dank and sparsely funded computer-lab in the basement to a top to bottom saturation. Technology is everywhere, and thus teachers need to familiarize themselves with the various technologies that are being utilized in the classroom in order to keep up. While some of us may believe in a "teaching by teachers" approach, in reality using technology in the classroom makes teaching more effective, and can save time with menial administrative tasks so that teachers have more time to teach.
Technology Saves Time
One reason why technology is becoming commonplace in the classroom is its ability to make the teacher's and administrator's lives easier in a day to day environment. For example, remember back in the day when a student would take an attendance sheet and walk it up to the office every morning? And then the office staff would have to manually go through each sheet, note the absences, and find the students' contact information on file so they could call home? Not anymore.
Now each teacher can enter their attendance records on a classroom computer. The information is collaborated and the office receives a list of absentees, along with their contact information. This streamlining makes the job simpler and saves on paper. Hooray for technology!
Technology Increases Learning
Schools can now make use of technology and help kids learn better, faster. One method is using headsets and speakers so that all kids have an equal chance to hear the lesson from their teacher. It is no coincidence that in the past the higher-achieving students were normally found at the front of the class and the lower-achieving students at the back. The theory is that by placing speakers at the back of the classroom the children seated there will have an equal opportunity to hear the lesson and interact.
Many schools across North America are making use of this new technology and some are already seeing results. Teachers are also providing children with microphones so that even the meekest voices can be heard by all their classmates.
Technology Helps Parents
Thanks to technology, reporting to parents has never been easier. All markings, comments, and observations can be recorded electronically by the teacher and trends can be tracked. With less time spent on reporting teachers have more time to spend meeting one on one with parents and helping them understand any difficulties their children may be facing.
At home parents and students can access their school's library online, where they can conduct research, view online encyclopedias and request that books from the library be put on hold. They can also find valuable resources for researching projects and get homework help. They can also access the school website where they can find out about school schedules, holidays, and upcoming events.
Technology Saves Money
Budgets are tighter than ever these days, which is why schools, administrators, and teachers need to take as many opportunities to save as they possibly can. Computers reduce paper usage, allow for in-house publishing and printing, and can help staff find redundancies in their budgets. While spending money on new technology means an upfront investment, in the long term it will save money.
Besides improving the learning experience, making everyone's lives easier and saving money, technology in the classroom also gets children used to using technology in their everyday lives. In the future it is likely that all of our children will use technology at home, at work, and elsewhere, so it is important that they get used to it at an early age.
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