Sunday, October 19, 2014

Technology Should Be MORE Than a Substitute

 When new technology arrives, the first things teachers do is to try and take the things they have been doing and substitute them with technology.  These things make our prep time less, but give kids essentially the same learning experience.  Examples of this would include:

- Using a fact fact website in place of flash cards.

- Using an iPad app in places of a file folder game.

- Using a word processing program to type up a published essay in place or writing it in neat hand writing.

- Looking up the definition for a word in an online dictionary instead of a book dictionary.

- Reading a book online instead of in a paper format.

 Technology can and should do more than substitute what we could already do with pen and paper.  An opinion from Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

While all of these are good ways to use technology, technology use SHOULD NOT stop there.  Technology provides us with the opportunity to do things we weren’t able to do before.  This should be the focus of our technology instruction and technology integration.  Some examples of using technology to take students to the next level would be:

- Creating videos to explain to others the tricks to memorizing math facts. (Consider using this video planning sheet.)

- Creating a collaborative document (using a program like Google Documents) with students from a different class (maybe even in a different country) to compile information.

- Using a website like Storybird to create an online storybook using the provided pictures as inspiration, and then publishing the story to your classmates so that they can leave you comments on the website.

- Reading a book online and using the embedded dictionary function to learn new vocabulary words.  And then creating an online book report with a link that can be shared with family around the world.

- Comparing information on verified and un-verified sources when conducting internet research.

- Publishing in-class writing assignments on your blog to share with students around the world.


As teachers, we should be spending at least half of our technology time using technology to do something that we couldn’t do without technology.  Technology helps students to collaborate, to create, to find large quantities of information and to connect with students all over the world.

How do you use technology in your classroom?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources