Making technology a part of your classroom doesn’t have to mean expensive edtech solutions and complicated implementations. Sometimes, simple tools that you’re probably already using in your non-teacher life can have just as much of an impact—without the intimidation factor. Here’s four easy ways to start incorporating every day technology into your lesson plans.
Take a virtual field trip
Every teacher knows that field trips can be a big undertaking. They can also be a serious drain on the budget. With a bit of research and creativity, the Internet can be your answer to overcoming both of these challenges.
Museums, national parks, and other local destinations tend to offer immersive experiences on their websites that can bring their attractions to your students without the logistical challenges. For example, many of the Smithsonian museums’ collections are searchable online, so a “visit” to the National Museum of Natural History for a dinosaur unit easily becomes possible.
Use social media to bring history to life
History is full of influential individuals—royal rulers, groundbreaking scientists, religious leaders, outstanding military commanders, pioneers in social justice, and the list goes on and on. However, many of these people who shaped their respective fields as well as broader society were not alive to participate in social media. That’s where your students come in. They can bring these important historical figures alive by creating mock social media presences for them, like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram accounts. Not only will this exercise help your students gain a deeper understanding of the individual they’re studying, but it’s also a great chance to practice critical writing skills, digital citizenship, and responsible social media use.
Make reading an online activity
Students (and parents) are often not aware of just how many resources are available free of charge online. Many communities and schools now have digital libraries, where people can check out ebooks and journal articles from anywhere that can be read on most devices, including smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Spend some time working with your students on how to use your library’s digital collection—it will instantly grow your own classroom library, and provide your students with expanded opportunities to fall in love with reading.
Fully utilize Google
Google is a much more powerful tool than many students realize. Aside from the regular search field and Image Search, there are also functions for calculation, translation, and scholarly research that can provide student with much deeper and more authentic info than grabbing the first result from Wikipedia. Devote some class time at the beginning of the year to exploring all of Google’s resources, and talk about best practices for online research, particularly in terms of identifying credible sources.
Looking for more simple strategies to make the most of technology in your classroom? Check out these 21 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas!