The world of education has changed dramatically in the past three decades. Technologies that were once available only on a trial basis are now accessible by virtually every student throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, the UK, and a variety of other nations. During the 1980’s, computers were once brought to U.S. elementary school students via the Computer Bus, a large school bus that was modified to carry about a dozen computer stations. The bus would drive onto the school grounds and classes would take turns sending groups of students to the bus where they would learn keyboarding skills and how to play basic games. The years that have passed since the days of the Computer Bus have seen computers, and a host of other technologies, brought directly into the classroom. Students learned basic programs such as Word and Excel and as the amount of technology continued to grow, they were even taught programming skills. Today, classroom technology isn’t used just for learning computer programs, it is used to teach everyday concepts, principles, and methods for subjects that range from English to math. The availability of technology in most classrooms now allows teachers to branch out into new areas of learning so their students can understand and retain essential knowledge.
Below are five ways you can incorporate your classroom technology into your everyday teaching techniques.
1. Whole Class Learning
With the use of technologies such as the interactive whiteboard, teachers are able to demonstrate new practices and teach new concepts with the use of engaging tools and applications. For example, teaching a social studies lesson on the United States can be made more engaging by using the Gynzy Map of the United States tool for your interactive whiteboard. This interactive map allows you to display state names, state capital names, and water system names. You can choose to show these options one at a time or all together as you teach your class about the U.S.
The Gynzy U.S. map and your interactive whiteboard allow you to teach your students about the states with a responsive tool rather than with an old fashioned pull-down map. This tool can also be used to test students on the information they have learned. For instance, display the map on the board without names for the class to see then have them play in teams or as individuals to name each of the states. When the state names have been mastered, you can go on to have them play a state capital naming game and a U.S. water system naming game.
2. Partner-Based Learning
The use of your interactive whiteboard and the many available tools by Gynzy provide the perfect combination for partner-based learning in your classroom. Students can sit together in pairs and work to reinforce important concepts in every subject. This allows your class to apply what they’ve learned as a group in a more personal setting as they work to further improve their skills.
The Gynzy Mathland: Addition and Subtraction tool is a great example of how skills can be tested after the concepts have been taught. Have students work together in pairs to test their addition and subtraction knowledge. This Gynzy tool gives students the information they need in order to find the missing number by either addition or subtraction. The fun log-cutting theme engages students as they strive to complete the log bridge by providing the measurement for the missing piece. When one student finishes answering a question, it will then be their partner’s turn to find the missing number. Students can offer each other encouragement and assistance as they play the game.
Allowing your class to work together in a partner setting not only gives them the chance to apply their knowledge and work on concept mastery, but it also helps you identify which students need more help as you watch each pair play. The use of technology in your classroom will benefit both you and your students as they enjoy more opportunities to learn and you enjoy more opportunities to provide quality teaching.
3. Small Group Learning
Your daily centers are a great time to introduce small group learning through the use of technology. Use your classroom’s interactive whiteboards to run centers for reading, math, spelling, writing, social studies, or science. The variety of tools offered by Gynzy will allow you to change activities at each center daily if you choose.
For example, the Gynzy Alphabetical Order tool allows you to implement effective teaching strategies at spelling and language arts centers. Use the settings option to select appropriate words for your grade level then have students work together in their center groups to put the words in correct alphabetical order.
Small group learning can also be used to reinforce concepts as class learning time rather than at centers. After teaching a new concept, allow enough time in your lesson plans to break your class into small groups where they can work together on their interactive whiteboards to put their new knowledge to the test. This can be especially helpful after teaching a new principle in math or science or to reinforce understanding of grammar, sentence diagramming, or punctuation.
4. Independent Learning
Classroom technology allows you to encourage your students to work on skills independently. Have students work alone as part of their morning warm-ups, after they’ve finished class assignments, during free time, or as part of a lesson. Tools such as Gynzy Brain Pop provide an excellent resource for helping students learn to work independently. This tool provides your class with current, digitally aligned daily content that helps them learn new facts. Following the short video, students are given a brief quiz that encourages retention, tests comprehension, and teaches new material.
Another great tool for independent use is Gynzy Handwriting Exercises. Students can work on this activity after the morning bell rings, following lunch, or after recess as a focus exercise. Independent work helps students learn accountability, teaches them to stay on task, and gives them the opportunity to work at their own pace. It also allows you to provide additional learning time for students who need more practice on important concepts.
5. One-on-One Learning
Teaching involves one-on-one testing and learning sessions with your students. Enhance these valuable moments by utilizing your interactive whiteboard. Regardless of your teaching style, the use of your classroom technology will allow you to better gauge your students’ progress. Use the Gynzy Compare and Contrast lesson test your students’ reading comprehension. This activity presents two different popular stories for children to compare and contrast as they look for similarities and differences. It can also be used as a comprehension tool. Ask students questions which you customize to their understanding and abilities to find at what level they comprehend the material. This will provide you with valuable information required for setting individual student goals and developing customized learning plans.
One-on-One learning can take place during daily centers, during class testing, or during silent reading time. Have the rest of your class work on partner or individual learning activities on their interactive whiteboards while you work with the student being tested.
The use of technology in the classroom will provide benefits for your students that will enhance their education. Not only will technology such as interactive whiteboards catch their attention for better engagement, it will also teach students using new methods that can activate different parts of the brain. Technology provides opportunities to implement many different teaching strategies and gives you as the teacher countless resources with which to supplement your daily lesson plans.
Aside from the subject retention that technology can help with, the use of technology itself is a form of learning. As you allow students to engage with their interactive whiteboards, they will become more comfortable navigating through new technological advances and learning how to work through technology-based problems. With a world that is constantly shifting to the latest and greatest forms of tech, introducing it to your class in a safe learning environment will help prepare them for continued use in the years ahead. It can also give opportunities to students who may not have as much exposure to technology at home.
Regardless of the tools and programs you add to your teaching resources, the tools offered by Gynzy will expose your students to a wide range of useful, engaging, and thought-provoking material that will enhance their educational experience.