What… your classroom doesn’t have 25 computers, each equipped with a projector? You mean to tell me that you have to make do with 1-3 computers in your classroom? Have no fear… technology integration can happen, you just have to get creative sometimes!
Of course the grade(s) you teach and the structure of your class does play a part in how you go about using technology in the classroom, but hopefully these ideas will get you started in the right direction. Let’s say you have 2-3 computers in your room. One is obviously the "teacher" computer, but during the day you should definitely use this one during small group lessons. Let’s say you have 30 students in your room– 8-10 could be working on independent assignments at their desks, 8-10 could be on workstations (more on this in a second), and 10-12 with you in a designated "small group" learning area in your classroom. I’ve seen several different versions of a "rotation" schedule … the point is that every student has some interaction with technology each day– with you or at a workstation.
Workstations– I was lucky to have 2-3 extra student computers in my classroom. Of course, my students loved the educational games and unitedstreaming assignments/videos I had available on the computers, but we had a rotation and accountability system set up so everyone had access to the student computers–fair and square!
What you can do with your computer in small group sessions–
- Show a short clip of a video/image that ties in with the lesson (great way to get students excited about the lesson and puts the lesson "in context")
- Show a PowerPoint that has embedded videos or hyperlinks– something to get your students talking and interested in the unit
- Prompt students with a question (ie how many sides does a cube have? who were the characters in ‘Twelfth Night’?); follow-up by having a student in the group do a search in unitedstreaming for that word/concept (or you pre-pick video clips and images for them to choose from–Assignment Builder or a video folder on your desktop); get answer by watching clip or looking at image(s)
- I’ve even created a Jeopardy game board (PowerPoint and posterboard) using clips/images from unitedstreaming…great way to study for a quiz/test
- View clips to help complete a KWL chart to reinforce key concepts at the beginning of a unit
- Integrate other tools such as Inspiration and Digital Storytelling, visual learning is beneficial at any age
- Especially in math, use math videos in conjunction with math manipulatives
Some things to note… 1) To watch a video in full screen using Quicktime, you have to have Quicktime Pro. 2) For struggling readers, use the closed-captioning feature to allow students to read along as the narration and captioning provide visual-audio connections. 3) It is always a good plan to download videos ahead of time and save them to a folder to use during your lessons–the most reliable form of playback!
If you have a TV in your classroom, perhaps a connection/scan converter between your TV and computer is a good option– cheaper than a projector and a great way to show videos/images to your class!
Stay tuned for more ideas on technology integration… with or without 25 computers! Feel free to share your classroom ideas and strategies–