Charlie Brenda is a writer and artist who lives in New Orleans. He holds a masters in English Literature from Tulane University, and currently teaches English to high school seniors.
Technology and the many advances it creates are here to stay. As a teacher you will not be able to get away from teaching with and about technology. In addition, your students need you to do this because they will not be able to avoid the many technological advances surrounding them. The use of new kinds of technology will improve your teaching methods. It will serve to simplify the lesson planning process because you will have access to many new resources. Below are five ways you can include technological advances in your classroom:
The use of social media to share news and information is growing at a rapid rate. There is a good chance that if you teach older students, they already use tools like Twitter to tweet, or they are very familiar with it. Teachers can take advantage of this and use social media to create an interesting lesson. After reading a short story or short piece of non-fiction, have students craft a tweet for you summarizing the story or information. This is a great way to teach students how to convey a point with only the necessary information.
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Cloud computing is a great way to teach students about technology, and surprisingly, it can be considered environmentally friendly because information is not printed, but rather sent and viewed virtually. Google Docs and Gmail are both examples of cloud computing. A fun way to teach students about this piece of technology is by using Google Docs to create a classroom newspaper or even a smaller newsletter. You can give out tasks to each student having them use this application to create their piece of the newspaper. Then, as a class, you can assemble the newspaper together within the same application. They will learn about technology and how to be a part of a team that creates one product.
It seems like everyone has a blog these days, so why not have a classroom blog? Implementing a classroom blog at the beginning of the year is a great way to build teamwork right from the start. You can begin by deciding on a blogging service together (for example WordPress and Tumblr), as well as what kind of look to display. Next, have each student write a post about him- or herself so everyone gets to know each other. Finally, have students continue posting by writing about classroom activities. This is an excellent way for parents to learn about what is going on in the classroom through the eyes of the students. Plus, quieter students get a chance to be heard by their fellow students.
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Internet Search Engines
Search engines are one of the newest ways to obtain information on any number of subjects. One way to teach students about how to use a search engine for this purpose is to have students go on an Internet scavenger hunt. You can even have them work in groups to make a newscast dividing the necessary information for the newscast among each group. At a later point, you can videotape the newscast if you so choose.
Online Tools and Services for Paper Writing
Students now have more than word processing programs to rely on for writing papers and essays. Students can download dictionaries so they are readily available on their computer as they write. They can find online grammar checkers, which provide them with a resource to both correct their paper and learn how to fix their grammar mistakes.
Teachers can benefit from these tools and services as well by using them to check for grammar and even plagiarism. When a teacher misses a mistake in grammar it means they miss an opportunity to teach, which makes grammar checkers useful to them as well. In addition, teachers must assure papers and essays are not plagiarized and services like PlagTracker, which is found at, is a resource for detecting words or text within papers that are not the student’s own words.
Using technology as a teacher, and teaching your students about it, is not just about teaching them one tool at a time. You are teaching them how to keep up with future advances and the importance of doing so. In addition, you are building their self-confidence as you teach them to think in a creative manner. For some students, engaging their creativity could be the difference between success and failure.