There seems to be such a rush for schools to get technology in the hands of teachers and students that often the reasons for technology implementations revolve more around positive publicity than a well thought out plan for how the technology will be used. From interactive whiteboards to tablets, there is a push for hardware in the classroom often followed by dismay over why teachers aren’t using that technology effectively even though they have had little to no professional development on how to modify their instruction to make best use of the technology.
Technology is a tool, and just like I wouldn’t use a hammer to paint a wall, technology isn’t always necessary to achieving a learning goal. However, there are many times technology can be an integral piece of the learning process. The challenge is knowing when this is the case.
One of the greatest reasons for justifying the use of technology is when it allows you to see or do things not otherwise possible because of a lack of access, time, or materials—or because technology is simply the only way it is possible. Here are a few examples:
This site challenges students to build a cell phone to suit the exact specifications of a customer and then test and revise their designs.
This site allows students to see a simulation of particles so they can draw a conclusion about their movement in solids, liquids, and gasses.
This site allows students to see simulated damage from earthquakes at all magnitudes in order to draw conclusions about the richter scale.
This site allows students to construct an environment for fish and then test that environment to determine how many will survive.
This StarrMatica activity asks students to conduct a probability experiment by pulling balls from a pit ten times and one hundred times to compare the experimental results with theoretical possibilities. (*You must be a member to access this resource.)
This site allows students to create an animated story to bring their writing to life.
Share your thoughts with us below about the necessity of technology in your classroom.