The Electric Educator: Classroom Technology that Works!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Classroom Technology that Works!

The use of technology in the classroom provides a great way to increase student understanding, encourage collaboration, and provide an authentic way for students to share their knowledge with others. Effective use of technology takes carefully planning and execution. This week I was asked to be a guest lecturer in a teaching methods course at the University of Detroit, Mercy where I shared "the Good, the Bad, and the ugly" of classroom tech integration and my suggestions on "classroom technology that works."


  1. Hi, John,
    I would like to take polite issue with one of the points on your slides - ugly - "assignments that use technology that the teacher isn't familiar with. If you can't use it, don't expect them to!"
    I guess it's the use of the term "familiar" that I want to clarify. I never limit my students to using only the tools I feel expert in. Often, I introduce a tool, and the kids take it far further than I ever dreamed. Case in point, I used GoAnimate to make a couple of simple model animations, but they found many options I hadn't even been aware of and created amazing animations. I also introduced my students to the basics of SketchUp, but they just loved the program proceeded to create amazing structures that I had no clue how to reproduce. So - teachers - yes, be familiar with the great tools out there. Read reviews and make sure they are approved by other educators, and then see what great projects the kids produce. Of course, stress content over pizazz. That's where the good rubric comes in.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Mrs. Stanley. I think that we are in agreement. We certainly don't need to be experts at something in order to use it, but a basic level of proficiency is important. My concern is that all too often when technology is being used the tech can distract from the learning. It's important that the instruction can quickly guide students around roadblocks and solve the technical issues so that the students can focus on the learning.

    If a student wants to go out on their own and try a new tool, they should do so even if the teacher isn't familiar with it.

    Choosing to use any form of technology simply because it is "cool" without a specific pedagogical reason for using it is ineffective instruction. As you said, "content over pizzazz."


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