Most students are more prepared for technology in the classroom than parents and teachers may realize. In fact, even students from kindergarten to grade 5 or 6 are often ready for high-tech classrooms before their teachers are prepared to integrate that technology.
Principals, teachers, and parents need to evaluate and understand if and when students are prepared for new technology in the classroom. At least five signs indicate students are ready for high-tech classrooms. Following are five signs that K-12 students are prepared for high-tech classrooms:
1. Students bring mobile devices from home
During summer and Christmas vacations, students often receive or buy digital devices such as tablets, laptops, and other technologies. Students then bring these mobile devices with them to their classrooms, typically intending to use them for purposes other than schoolwork. This indicates a prime opportunity for teachers to integrate these types of technology into the classroom and redirect their use for academics rather than allow them to become distractions.
2. Students communicate with teachers and each other using Twitter, email, or other social media tools
Many times, students or parents ask for Twitter handles, email addresses, or Facebook pages to allow for communication and socialization outside of school hours. While some teachers don’t like or use any of these forms of technology, others welcome and use it, and see the potential for its use in education. In the 21st century, these common and recognized forms of communication technology indicate it's time for administrators in schools to make decisions and establish policies governing acceptable uses for these types of communication, both inside and outside the classroom environment
3. Students find ways to supplement classroom learning at home using digital media
Teachers may begin to notice students turning in homework that looks different than it used to: word processed, color laser printed, digitally laid out, or enhanced with multimedia or other artistic effects. This is a good indication that it’s time to evaluate the best way to leverage these tools for improved classroom learning and at-home studying. Teachers might consider conducting a survey to determine which students have access to various types of technology, and develop a technology.
4. Students become bored in the classroom, but whenever technology is introduced in the classroom, they exhibit excitement
It's always a challenge to keep students engaged and interested in listening and participating in the classroom. Today's technology, however, integrated in the classroom can turn bored, tuned out students, into excited, dynamic learners. Digital light boards, document cameras, and mobile carts of computers are often the first step towards a 1 to 1 device environment (meaning each student possesses and uses at least one form of technology). Teachers may be amazed at how quickly learning behaviors change and students focus more on actively participating, simply by having access to these tools. This helps teachers to know they are on the right track.
5. Students ask if homework can be done and delivered using home computers or other digital devices
Frequently, students will drive the need for change in the classroom. Students familiar with using technology at home can assist in bringing classrooms to the next level. When the majority of students are using technology to do their homework and conduct research, as well as learn about and use different digital tools to collaborate with one another, access data, and turn in assignments, it's time for administrators and teachers to evaluate and integrate new technologies.
How do YOUR students measure up based on this list of five signs? How prepared are your teachers to recognize, accept, and implement technology to create high-tech classrooms?