New Technology inthe ClassroomMost teachers of today still feel the most secure when using the traditional, old-school methods of teaching but are concluding that this isn’t effective. However, they feel nervous about integrating technology, which would spice things up, into the classroom. The challenge is how to get the kids
to use the technology appropriately and monitor it. Also, for many teachers, technology is a learning curve that they don’t have the time or energy to incorporate. The stark reality is that even though students are still coming to school, they are not soaking up what teachers are serving because the teacher’s platform is outdated. Why not use what the student is willingly into as a teaching tool? And, the best thing is that students typically own a cell phone with all the capabilities already, so the school is not expected to provide the technology tools.
The reasons that technology in the class will become a must are six-fold (http://thwt.org/cellphone.html).
1. Our students willingly bask for hours neck-deep in information and technology through email, Facebook, twitter, smart phone apps, the Internet, and the like—it’s the age of “digital culture”.
2. Being able to connect to the World Wide Web is the up and coming trend; most young people are already doing this.
3. A cell phone offers so much versatility with its capabilities and applications
4. It’s small and portable.
5. The software programs called apps that can be downloaded onto cell phones make life easier in many ways. Who would want to live life without this?
6. Because the cell phone has Internet capabilities, the user can create anything from photo galleries, slideshows, videos, podcasts, and so much more as long as they realize what the capabilities are and have an idea of how to implement them.
Now, let’s discuss ways to use the cell phone within the classroom.
Cell phones can be used as a reaction sensor similar to clickers that represent “Yes” or “No”. The teacher polls the class on a controversial subject and the students text in their vote to start a discussion. Then project the responses on a screen to begin a discussion (http://thwt.org/cellphone.html).
Cell phone cameras can be used to take pictures for homework or presentations. The student texts the picture assignment to the teacher or to an email account while they can be saved as a file and projected on a big screen. Some students even use the camera to take pictures of class notes or homework assignment (http://thwt.org/cellphone.html).
Cell Phone Podcasting Using Google Voice can record telephone conversations/message to create audio files. Students can leave verbal homework assignments, messages, oral presentations, and recordings of telephone interview assignments. In class, those conversations could be pulled up much like an email and used as teaching tool. (http://thwt.org/cellphone.html).
Cell phones have a variety of apps that could be used educationally. For example, Dragon Dictation takes what you say and turns it into text. This gives students an opportunity to for students to see what their speaking ability looks like on “paper” and then they can fix it if needed. There are other apps that can be downloaded that would specifically be used for classroom activities or review. One example is “Flashcards Deluxe” by OrangeOrApple.com. Students create flash cards based on vocabulary they need to learn and they can add sounds and pictures in addition to text. Many create personal decks and share them or download already made decks from others (www.iear.org).
Social media cannot be ignored. Teachers could give an assignment in which students had to write a one paragraph story applying the various assigned techniques to dress it up and post it on Facebook for the whole world to see. Students would pay closer attention to what the paragraph said when hundreds of people would be reading it and commenting. Twitter could be used as an ongoing conversation (http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/professor-encourages-students-to-pass-notes-during-class-via-twitter/4619) both in the classroom as well as outside of it (Antenos-Conforti, E. (2009) http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume13/ej50/ej50int/).
I conclusion, technology is taking the world by storm and it would be smart for educational institutions to find a way to integrate it so students see technology as educational as well as extra-curricular.