Now that we’re in the 21st Century, technology is a part of our everyday lives. As a teacher, I like to help my students explore the ways that technology can be useful and not just entertaining. Neither am I above taking advantage of their enthusiasm for technology by teaching them something new. Here are just a few of the ways that I use technology in my classroom:
Admittedly, there probably aren’t many teachers who don’t use Pinterest. I like to keep it as a repository for any teaching idea I’ve ever come across. Ever. It’s virtual clutter, to be sure, but extremely useful when I have an event coming up (a parent night, student showcase or art project for a fundraiser) and I don’t have the time to spend developing my own awesome idea.
Typing Instructor for Kids:
After a fair amount of research, I chose Typing Instructor for Kids for my classroom’s typing instruction program. It teaches the basics, like home row and good typing posture (which I like) but it also has games (which the kids love). I also appreciate the way it allows me to track my students’ progress. I don’t have to watch every keystroke to know if they’re improving on their wpm or their accuracy.
Timez Attack is a program that I use to reinforce Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction facts. It’s ideal for fluency with times tables and, again, the kids love it. The website boasts some pretty impressive stats, but it wasn’t until I heard about from a fellow teacher that it got a mention at a Montessori conference that I encouraged my school to invest.
Montessori Apps for the iPad
Montessorium, MontessoriTech and Mobile Montessori (Rantek) have a number of Montessori apps that I’ve set my students to work on at different times. So far there’s an emphasis on Math and Geography, but I have one Compound Words app that makes me excited for the future.
Research and Writing:
Research and writing are really what all that time spent working on touch typing is all about. As much as possible, I encourage my students to do their paragraph writing on computers. There’s nothing wrong with writing their work longhand, but less and less of it will be handwritten the older they get. Typing is also good for students who need to focus on the skill of crafting sentences instead of forming letters.
Technology is also really helpful with research, which goes hand-in-hand with Montessori Elementary classrooms. We start simple, avoid Wikipedia, and try to use websites devoted to students doing research (often created by teachers!). In this way, students can begin to learn the skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.
- Read Naturally Live: A web-based program designed to increase reading fluency.
- Schoolhouse Rock on YouTube: Yes, I show them whenever I teach the parts of speech. Also subject and predicate!
- Google Earth: Never fails to impress how it zooms in on a location.
- Random, In the Moment Internet Searches: You know the ones. When Bobby asks you a question you don’t know the answer to and circumstances are such that you can turn the question into a learning moment. My best example is the time when a student asked me when his favorite author was going to release his next book. The query eventually became a student-written email to the author. So awesome.