Use this space to share some of the lessons you have learned about using technology in the classroom.

I think the most important lesson I learned in relation to children and technology is that they love it! I think that no matter what subject one is teaching they can find a creative or advantageous way to incorporate technology. This helps to keeps students engaged and excited by the lesson at hand. Additionally, the use of technology can help to mask to students that any learning is actually taking place which will almost always work to a teachers advantage. My advice to educators is to not be afraid of technology, but instead seek out your school specialist and ask for help. They will almost always be excited to teach you some new use for technology in your classroom. I found my school computer support staff to even be willing to set time out of their schedule to help me prepare and set things up. Grab hold of these great resources as soon as possible and not only will the students benefit but so will you.

Technology is really underutilized in a lot of classrooms. It seems that there is a growing emphasis on integration, but it is definitely the case that there are a lot of teachers who are choosing not to take advantage of some great resources. It's not necessary to have a great deal of expensive or advanced technology or equipment. The lessons and websites listed under the school subjects in this wiki are just a sample of the huge number of resources available to the public online. In the classrooms I have seen, the extent to which technology is utilized rarely surpasses some occasional word processing, and even that tends to typically be saved for the computer lab. I think that it is the case that technology should be an aide and not a focus (at least in courses that are not specifically about technology). However, it can really be an asset in the classroom. There are obviously some things to keep in mind when using technology in the classroom. You have to be careful that the material is age-appropriate, and try it ahead of time to be sure that your school's filter allows it. Giving the children some time to explore on their own is also helpful in that it helps keep them from being distracted during actual instruction or tasks. One can use it to clarify or demonstrate a topic or to provide a chance to practice something in a creative way. With the technology I have seen, the students tend to respond really well. It gives them a chance to be hands-on in areas that normally they might only learn about by reading or listening. It also allows for a sense of ownership, as the students take charge of their own progress and exploration.

By incorporating technolgy into my lesson, I learned a couple of important things. First, I learned that things don't always go as planned with technology. I used a Brain Pop activity using the LCD projector and accidentally clicked on an answer for a question before I had read the question. When I tried to go back, it took me all the way back to the beginning of the quiz. Second, I learned that simply using the computer increases students attention and engagement. They love any activities on the computer. When Magruder first got new LCD projectors and other technology, some students even asked if they could skip recess to play with the computers! When I use technology in the future, I will try to reserve the laptop cart so that each student can explore on their own.

A teacher should also try to use various forms of technology with his or her students. As the options for technology increase, it is important that the teacher be aware of all the possibilities when using technology. The students should be introduced to basic typing and computer skills such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. They should also be comfortable with the Internet and researching. But the students should also be familiar with other aspects of technology such as WebQuests, Podcasts, online games and activities, videos, and hand held technology. Sometimes these can be more informative than the basic internet and tools, and also more fun. Students can only take so much work and they must be allowed to enjoy themselves. Technology can provide much entertainment, combined with information. Teachers should definitely explore other technological options for they are great tools for teachers to use and they allow their students to explore, have fun, and learn.

Technology can be tricky. A teacher must be sure that he or she is well versed in whatever he or she is attempting to use prior to introducing it to students. A lot can go wrong, but if the teacher already expects and understands what to do if problems occur, the lesson will run that much smoother. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most schools have a technology-go-to person, who will make sure that you understand what you are using or help if something goes wrong. Teachers also should not be afraid to explore new technology...there is no telling what your students will be capable of unless you try out new things with them. Chances are, they will be thrilled and excited to see how technology can enhance their learning. You may be surprised, as well.

From my time spent at Magruder Elementary this semester, I have noticed how excited the students get when they have a chance to go work on the computer, even if it is for 20 minutes. They love the educational games they can play. There are only three computers in each room, so it is hard to let each student on for a certain amount of time. Luckily, the school just invested in a traveling lap-top cart, which allows each student to have a laptop for a short time. This is a wonderful improvement. I can see that when the teacher and students are all using the computers together, they are more attentive and willing to learn. The thought of losing computer privileges is too hard for most of them to bear, so they behave very well. In this day and age, computer skills really are just as important as spelling or cursive writing. They need to be taught and utilized.

I, too, have found that technology is not used enough in the classroom, but in my elementary school, it is definitely being used more because the school has received much more technology and the teachers have been educated about how to use it. That is one thing I think is being left out of many other schools: the teachers are not being educated enough on how to use technology. I believe that almost every teacher would want to use technology more if they knew how engaged students would be, and also how much easier it can make the teacher's job. A teacher can create an entire lesson based on a fun interactive site. I also believe that all teachers need to be educated on how technology can be used in every subject--in everything from review games, to research, to math manipulatives--I could go on for days. Technology could be used to enhance learning in just about any subject matter, and students will enjoy creating products using computers. I have also found that technology needs to be used appropriately in the classroom, and in a variety of ways. Technology should be used to enhance lessons and reviews, but it should not be a supplement to student's understanding. For instance, a child should not just know the procedures in Excel that it takes to create a graph of data, but should be able to understand why and how a certain graph is created based on material, and how the information leads to that graph.

From observing my practicum teacher and other teachers at Clara Byrd Baker, I have learned that technology can be used to basically teach anything! Not that I recommend using a computer or other technology to teach every single lesson, but I've learned that that is some way to create some technology-based activity for every single possible subject. My cooperating teacher used laptops in her math lesson for students to go on a website which gave them practice with adding coins. Another first grade teacher created a powerpoint activity for language arts that gave students practice with spelling words. There are literally endless possibilities on how to use technology to enhance learning.

I've also learned that young students are very capable of using computers. My first grade class did great with laptops. There was a problem with one of the websites that the students were using, and one student called me over to help. I looked over it for a minute or so and couldn't figure it out, and then she clicked and searched something and fixed the problem herself! A first grader figured out how to fix the problem before I could! I've even heard of some kindergarten teachers using laptops in their classroom. I used to think that computers were inappropriate for such young students, but I've learned otherwise.
Technology is a great way to add fun and excitement to any classroom. However, you have to make sure that the videos or other technology being incorporated is significantly connected to the lesson. In addition, its a common thing for you ro experience "technical difficulties' when using technology. Therefore, you should check and recheck links in your powerpoints and your access to projectors, websites, etc. For example, my parner and I ran into a problem when trying to access a video on the web because the school had filtered out the website. Next time, we will check the website out at the school beforehan and get clearance from the computer technician at the school. I was also surprised to see how much kids know about the internet and the information that can be found on the web. For this reason, we as educators must provide limits to the kids so they do not unintentionally run into inappropriate material that exists on the web. At the same time, we can explore new possibilities in the learning process becuase the students are willing and able to go to that next level.
I have learned that the resources available definately vary depending on what school you are in. I feel like some of the elementary schools in the area are very advanced in the area of technology and at first I was a bit frustrated when I had trouble finding as much technology in my own school. However after a bit more research I realized that they kids are still highly proficient in technology and really learn a lot by utilizing the resources that are available to them. I am also excited that I have been able to show my teacher new technology that she can use in her clas. For example, she had Kidspiration on her computer in her classroom and she didn't even know it existed or how to use it. I gave her a brief tutorial on the program and last week she used one of the pre- made graphic organizers embedded in the program to help the chidlren plan a story that they were going to write. I was really excited to see this and I guess the take home lesson from this course is that there is a whole world of technology out there and it is changing and improving everyday. Using technology in the classroom requires a process of lifelong learning and investigation of the material available and I really want to make an effort as I continue working in the field of education to incorporate and learn more about technology in the classroom.

From everything I have learned this semester, it appears that technology is really an invaluable tool. Not only can it level the playing field in many regards, between Special Education and mainstream students for example, it can also provide students with highly engaging resources. Students who appreciate visual representations of concepts can use Kidspirationi concept maps while those who appreciate concrete examples of a concept can use educational websites to find just these. Virtually no goal is unattainable with the masses of information readily available on the internet and, as teachers, we must direct our students on how to efficiently and safely access this knowledge.
This is not to say that integrating technology effectively into classroom instruction is easy. Far from it, current teachers are struggling with the idea of technology and tend to be greatly intimidated. The opportunity to use the tools available, however, more than outweighs any risks of technology not cooperating consistently. The 'magic pen', for example, that allows the teacher or student to write their response on a paper which then appears on the projected screen is a great tool for ensuring everyone's input is heard. Similarly, websites like unitedstreaming.org bring real-life footage to teh classroom so student-learning can be authentic.

Just like everyone else, by using technology in the classroom, I have learned that you always need to be prepared with a back up just in case it doesn't work. Especially when it comes to using websites that your school system may block in the classroom. Just because you can acces the websites at home, does not mean that you can find them using a school computer. Also, connections and wires may not work. I've learned this not only in the classroom, but in the classes i take myself as well. It's hard to rely on technology becase there is a very good chance that it may not work sometimes. Also, you need to be up and coming on the uses of programs and you need to know exactly how a system works before you use it. If you are not entirely sure of how something works, then your class will be sitting there waiting for you to start your lesson and they will become impatient and roudy.
I've found that technology is very useful in the classroom and that students absolutely love it. They can do it themselves and most of my students know more about computers than i do! it's also easy to personalize indepndent work with computer game levels. It also is colorful and keeps all students engaged. I will use it in my own classroom, but I will always be prepared with a backup plan just in case the internet goes down.