Goal 23 of the 30 Goals Challenge is to integrate Technology Effectively. Here’ s what I do with our classroom computer, which has no Internet connection (we got this up-to-date computer less than a year ago):
1) Showcase students’ slideshows. Every year we would reserve the computer room and see the slideshows pupils made for their literature project. If you weren’t there that day, you couldn’t see them!
2) I do a lot of activities involving answering questions about pictures (for more info on that see “The Visual Corner” category). I used to look for pictures I could cut out of magazines because printing large color images from the Internet was not a viable option. Now I bring all the colorful pictures in on my flash-drive and they look clear and attractive!
3) I have a handful of students at the highest level who are working on writing sophisticated compistions of 120-140 words. These need to be written and rewritten. Most of them would much rather do that on WORD than by hand!
4) WORD has a dictionary. It isn’t as good as the electronic dictionary the students are supposted to bring and most certainly not as comfortable to use (actually, the kids hate it) but in some situations having the option to use it is a big help!
5) The students get homework online from our class site. Using screen shots from the site (with my trusty flash drive) I’m able to explain things related to the site and to the h.w assignments.
6) I have a hard of hearing student who is very dyslectic. I have one textbook that comes with a cd. The text is highlighted as it is read outloud. This girl hooks up to the computer directly with earphones (we don’t have speakers) listens and reads the text. It is not uncommon at all for books to come with a CD but with my population of students I never purchased these CD’s before. They are unable to understand the speech on a CD player, but on the computer, in combination with the visual aspect, a few students can take advantage of the listening component. I must obtain additional CD’s in order to take advantage of this exciting new possibility.
7) I have a few simple games. Some are more educational, some are just for fun! That’s important too!
8) I use the computer to create worksheets. I used to write my ideas on a piece of paper and type them up when I got home. Now I create as much as I have time for during the short breaks when I don’t leave the Enlgish Room, take it home on my flash drive and continue from there! Much more efficient!
9) Since my class is a learning center, the computer functions as a work station for one or two students, thus enabling me to have more work stations. This is very important for classroom management.
10) Class image: the students think our class is more modern becasue we have a computer. However, they complain bitterly that they can’t check Facebook on it. I’m thrilled. When we go to the computer room I have to disconnect everything (well, sometimes) in order to exercise MY RIGHT to go to the teacher’s room when the bell rings – they want to spend the break on Facebook!