A Beginner Integrates Technology
Another way that I have used technology is to have them go online and search each of the top three candidates in the Republican and Democratic parties and write summaries of each candidates platform. Students then write who they would vote for and why. This assignment worked out very well because they had the freedom to search various sites and choose the sources that gave them the best information. My concern about the reliability of their sources was eased by the fact that I was able to circulate throughout the class and monitor their progress. This may be a simple and obvious way to use technology, but with our student population, monitoring Internet use can be a full-time job! With the learning management system, I can also post links to guide my students in the right direction.
My classroom has a 60″ flatscreen TV and an Apple TV (as do all classrooms in our district). This has been a great piece of technology because I can access PBS, YouTube, Netflix, and several news channels directly via the AppleTV. I always arrive at 6:30a.m. to watch the news and scan the sites for relevant information to support each lesson for both American Government and Economics. One of my favorite things to do is embed video and questions into NEO and have the whole lesson online for my students. With the truancy issues we have, this enables our students to have access even when they don’t quite make it to class. The days that are the most trouble free and easiest days that I have integrated technology. I think it allows my students some quiet time that is needed in their stressful lives. I don’t do this every day because I enjoy the give and take of talking to my students and also want them to learn better communication and group skills.
I think it is very important to use technology to help me deliver the lessons and to help the students learn, but I am careful not to let it be a substitute for good teaching.