Once of the biggest hurdles for classroom teachers and technology is the wasted instructional time they encounter while training their students. Here are some strategies to minimize wasted time and get the most out of your classroom technology lessons.
- Instructions: Always include a printed copy of instructions and passwords at your computer station or on the board for one-to-one users. Write students’ individual passwords on their nametags or in their journals for easy access.
- Gradual release of responsibility: Before allowing students to explore sites on their own, model the assignment first to the whole class. Each new task should be modeled and practiced before students are expected to complete one on their own. (This may seem time-consuming, but it will save you time in the long run.)
- Accountability: Hold students accountable for their technology time so their learning is purposeful. If the programs they are using do not give automated feedback to teachers, introduce screen shots and response writing as a lesson wrap-up.
- Assign tech helpers: Assign a few tech helpers in each class who are adept at technology. Be sure to include instructions and rules about when these students may be interrupted for help.
- If you have a classroom with one-to-one devices, label and number devices and assign each student a number. This strategy is a quick and easy method for passing out and collecting Chromebooks or tablets without wasting precious instructional time.
Technology can open the world to your classroom. It can challenge students to become content curators as well as content creators. A little organization and planning will go a long way in making your technology lessons meaningful and stress free.
Quick tip: It is always a good plan to have a technology back-up lesson in place. You never know when the electricity or internet servers will go down, and no one wants to be stuck with 30 students and no plan.
Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.