Classroom Technology For All Your Students
One of the key things that teachers in the 21st century have to do in order to give their pupils a good education that will help them in today's world is to ensure that they have "no child left behind" when it comes to digital technology. All your students should be able to bridge the digital divide and know how to use the tools of communication, doing business and finding information of today. And the way you use your classroom technology will have a lot to do with this.
Thankfully, grants of all shapes and sizes have made sure that even schools that might seem disadvantaged do have plenty of classroom technology on tap. The schools that might seem most at-risk of being on the wrong side of the digital divide, such as poorer inner-city schools or remote rural schools, often end up with the classroom technology they need. In many cases, the school setting may be the only place that students in these areas get to use such a wide range of technological tools.
But the presence, absence or type of classroom technology you have available isn't the only thing that determines the width of the technological divide. On the contrary - you have to use your classroom technology to bridge the digital divide that already exists.
You have to know the other factors that contribute to the digital divide in order to know how to use the tools you have and to bridge that divide:
Home access. Some of your students may have their own computer at home with wireless access, a webcam, their own website and blog, etc. etc. Others may occasionally use the family's one and only computer. And others may not have any access to a computer at all outside the classroom setting. While it may seem like a great idea for a teacher to have YouTube posts of their key lessons, a Facebook group for their class and a teacher's blog, all these won't be much good if half your class doesn't have access at home to the internet, and some of your students will be at a disadvantage.
Community acceptance of technology. Some neighborhoods and parents are very pro-technology. Sometimes, you even have parents whose businesses sponsor or donate the classroom technology and push for teaching your students the skills that are needed for the 21st century workplace. But this isn't always the case. The parents of your students may be a bit slow and muddled about new techniques, or they may be quite suspicious and even slightly hostile towards new technology - your task in this case is not only to teach your students how to use the internet, etc. but also how to do so safely... and to reassure the parents that your pupils are not spending their time in class on X-rated sites, in chat rooms giving information to potential paedophiles... or playing mindless games.
Your school's goals. In some schools, the most important goal may be to improve test scores and to get all the Adequate Yearly Progress boxes ticked off, which means that you may not have time to do things like, for example, setting up a class webpage, even though this is a great project. In other schools, you may have more of a free rein and be able to experiment with your class and even develop new ways of using your classroom technology.
Your fellow staff members. If you work for a school that has a high proportion of younger teachers - or older teachers who have embraced the potential of classroom technology - you will find it easier to incorporate new technologies into your lessons. If you are the "new young fellow/lady" surrounded by colleagues who come up with statements like "Back in my day, we didn't have all this online stuff and we knew how to use the library to find what we wanted," or "Kids these days (fill in the blank)" or "Videos and films are best kept for when you have to call in the relief teachers," you may have more of an uphill battle on your hands.
But no matter what your individual situation is, you need to use the classroom technology you have correctly. You don't want to be on the wrong side of the digital divide. Download these for improving your classroom lessons by using videos and other tools more-and more effectively.