Do you know what technology your school has that is at your immediate disposal? I am guessing that there may be more than you think.
There is a lot of money floating around today for technology in schools, more than most realize, and schools are using the money. One of the problems is keeping up with what is being purchased and shelved, much of which teachers never use.
Many teachers kind of get hung up on having a computer for every student to use everyday. I’ll be the first to admit that is is certainly the ideal situation, and I can’t wait until this becomes a reality in my own classroom. However, until then, I am going to use whatever else I can get my hands on, or even better, whatever I can get the student’s hands on.
The first place to look for unused technology is the computer lab. I have worked in several different schools now, and it seems that for teachers that want it, there is time available to get students on computers. Granted, they can’t be used every day. The labs are usually shared with the whole school. Despite this, I am always amazed at how many hours go by without any students tapping the keyboards. A computer lab not being used every hour of the day amounts to a lot of money that is being wasted. Find out how many computers are available in the school, find out how to get access to them, and use them.
Like I said earlier, computers are not the only technology. More and more, teachers have an interactive whiteboard mounted in the front of the classroom that is used for nothing more than a projector screen. While these boards do not always live up to the hype that is often associated with them, they are still a great technology for enhancing instruction, when used properly. The key here is to learn how to use the thing. Take some time when students are not in the room and figure out a way to incorporate some of the boards functions into classroom instruction.
Another great place to look for technology is the school library. Oftentimes, there is a wealth of technology just sitting on shelves in the library collecting dust. Libraries usually have money to work with that allows for new and innovative learning tools like document cameras, clickers, iPods, e-readers, and more. All you have to do is ask.
One other place to look for technology is other teachers. I don’t know how many times I have talked to teachers to learn that they have a set of clickers, or a tablet, or a class set of cameras. These are often acquired through mini grants, and after being used once or twice start taking on dust as a shelf ornament.
Oftentimes, the problem is not that we don’t have any technology to use, it’s that we’re not using the technology we already have.