Is Educational Technology Possible in the Classroom?

May 27, 2021 2 By Ashley Peterman
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 12: Teacher Maribel Reyes has some students in the classroom and some online at Sunkist Elementary School in Anaheim, CA on Monday, April 12, 2021. Students in the Anaheim Elementary School District moved from online-only instruction to a hybrid model on Monday. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Photo by MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images on Getty Images

How does a teacher incorporate technology into the classroom? This question has had me stumped for years now. Without a doubt, technology is becoming increasingly common in a young child’s life. I can even recall numerous times in a grade one classroom in March 2020 where students constantly talked about playing video games when they get home from school. I have noticed, and you might’ve too, that students tend to be more interested when technology is included in their learning. How does this work? How do I, as a teacher, incorporate technology in the classroom? How do I keep it both appropriate AND educational? There are so many additional questions to the main question of incorporating technology into the classroom.

In the lecture on May 25, I found out that technology is always expanding. This mindset helps me answer the question of how to incorporate technology into the classroom. If I have the mindset that everything is or was considered technology at one point in time, it helps the understanding. Even writing down notes on a piece of paper with a pencil was technology at one point. By thinking this way, we can imagine the never-ending list of technology uses in the classroom.

At one time, those old overhead projectors were the newest technology (even though it does not even seem like technology now).

Old overhead projector.
Photo by seanoriordan on iStock

It makes me wonder how these current technologies in the classroom today will be seen in the future. What are some current technologies/social media apps in today’s world? Well, have you ever heard of a “trend” before? Trends seem to be the new thing in today’s society, especially for young children. Today, children spend so much time on TikTok learning new dances or doing new trends. The dances or trends often become a part of their life and they will be doing them at school/tell their friends about the newest trend. It is the participatory culture occurring here. One student sees other students or people online doing a trend, and they join in so that they are not left out.

So, how does a teacher compete with these trends in the classroom? How do we keep their attention in the classroom despite all of the new technologies/trends today?

This got me thinking. How could we incorporate trends into the room? Here are a few things that I have brainstormed:

  • Incorporating TikTok dances into the Arts Education curriculum. To do this, students can create their own dances or trends and then present them to the class.
  • Since video games are increasingly popular, students could play certain educational games online. For example, allowing them to play online math games.
  • Laptops and iPads can be used in the room for educational purposes. Restrictions can also be put onto apps on an iPad so that the student stays on task.
  • Digital field trips via zoom can be taken. The students are able to explore a wide variety of things in places that would not be possible to see without technology. For example, attending a digital field trip in the United States of America.
  • For older students, social media apps such as Twitter can be used in the classroom. On Twitter, the students can network and share ideas/resources with each other.
  • PowerPoints can be used. Incorporating fun PowerPoints into the classroom is great. However, be sure to add pictures and make them fun, so that the students are not just looking at a slide only with words.
  • YouTube videos. If the students need extra help understanding something, YouTube is great to use. The students can watch various videos about the lesson to get a better understanding.
  • Chrome extensions, particularly accessible on laptops that students will be using. A great one to use would be screen readers, such as Read Aloud. Students can listen to and read the text at the same time. This is great when the students are all reading different things and the teacher is unable to read it out loud to the student.

It is important to note that the list above is only a few ideas of how to incorporate technology into the classroom. The more that I think about it, the more that I realize there are endless ways to do this.

Before I end this post, I wanted to touch base on the teacher’s role in technology today. I see a HUGE potential for teachers in today’s society to effectively use technology in their teaching lives. Whether it is using Youtube videos, online games, PowerPoint, or Twitter, the possibilities are endless. Teacher also have the capability to network with teachers across the world through Twitter. Without social media apps like Twitter, teachers wouldn’t be able to do this. This leaves great potential to transform our classrooms into a safe and productive space. As well, being able to bounce ideas back and forth between teachers in our PLN is awesome. We are able to get more ideas, and possibly get feedback from fellow teachers on a certain aspect of our classroom.

Technology is always changing and has great potential in the classroom. While there are issues to look out for, such as inappropriate content or student’s getting off task, there is still great potential. To filter out this inappropriate content or students getting off task, restrictions can be put onto laptops/iPads. As well, the Distraction Free extension for YouTube can be used to avoid any unwanted content popping up. Students have many opportunities to be educated like they never have before. With all of this technology talk in today’s society, it makes me wonder what the technology in the classroom will be like 10, 20, or even 30 years from now. Will the technology be the same or will it be even more developed?