This debate can become a rather heated one and for good reason. People blame technology for many of the mishaps and problems in today's world as well as praise it for the advances that have become possible. But let's face it...technology isn't going anywhere and if we refuse to adapt our teaching to accommodate we're merely setting kids behind the times. On the same note it is all about balance!
Some classrooms have much more access to technology than others. While I feel the school I taught in had a pretty adequate set up there are many schools that would blow my mind. We by no means had iPads, laptops, etc for every student, but even with limited resources there are ways to get by and make sure your students are exposed, engaged, and enriched (alliteration anyone??) to technology on a regular basis.
Here are a few ways I used technology regularly:
-Educational song and videos: Songs such as "I can count to 100" "3D Shapes" and "Let's Get Fit (count to 100)" we're a daily staple in my classroom. These songs were a daily warm up, brain break, and even a reward for students. I found students quickly memorized the lyrics which flowed seamlessly with the videos of shapes, numbers, etc and they were able to translate that into other parts of their learning. For the English language learners in my room this was crucial to building vocabulary of math terminology.
-Interactive whiteboard: My classroom was fortunate enough to have a MimeoTeach that is similar to a Smartboard. I used it DAILY. Not only was I able to use the lessons that my curriculum had, but also I used it on regular websites. The students were able to do a guided practice activity using games and activities straight from the Internet. I'll post more on my favorite site later!
-Classroom computers: Like most classrooms my students were on a rotation for computer access. The 3 computers in my room were rarely all working at one so it was difficult at times for each student to get equal time. I used a partner system that usually worked well, but honestly I struggled the most with making the computer time more functional and less of a reward system. I did set up my desktop using a background I made in paint that allowed me to show the students of different grades which activities I wanted them to go on. This was very effective for my pre-readers as they gained independence and confidence.
Twist n Shout games: Ever see those Leapfrog games or math Twist n Shouts discarded in the corner or your kid's room or while wandering a garage sale or Goodwill? If so, TAKE THEM TO SCHOOL. They are so great to use in center/station rotations and the kids love them. They're great practice and very engaging for students especially with memorizing rote facts.
I could probably go on and on, but I will save some goodies for another post. Make sure you check out my post on great videos to use in the classroom as well!