The purpose of technology in the classroom is to enhance instruction. Simple explanation, but what does it mean? The word enhance means to magnify, intensify, raise to a higher degree. That is the purpose of technology in today’s classrooms, to raise instruction to a higher degree.
A prime example of raising instruction to a higher degree can be found in a recent Reading and Social Studies unit 2nd graders at my school completed. We combined Reading and Social Studies TEKS in a biography unit on famous Americans. Our students checked out library books on the famous American of their choice. Our 2nd graders love to go to the library and get new books. They enjoy reading a variety of genres, including biographies. We read lots of fun stories about famous Americans to our students. We also use technology to raise our instruction to a higher degree.
We created YouTube playlists of famous Americans to supplement the reading material our students found in the library. We visited websites to discover more about our famous Americans.
A study of George Washington included a virtual tour of Mt. Vernon. NASA was a great place to discover photos and information about John Glenn. Some of our friends discovered a new passion for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder.
How did watching videos on YouTube and visiting websites magnify our instruction? Seeing the places we were reading and learning about and how they look in real life enhanced (raised to a higher level) our students interest in all that we were learning.
The payoff? Our students are still searching and exploring people they find fascinating. Jean Michel Basquiat, the subject of the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner, just a few pages in and my kiddos were chomping at the bit to go find his artwork.
The bigger payoff? These 2nd graders have unlocked a whole new world of learning and discovery. They know that NASA is a great place to find all sorts of information about space. National Geographic Kids is a favorite site to learn about the animal kingdom. DOGO News is the place to go for news lovers. Science Bob is captivating for my scientists.
Learning to use technology in the classroom is teaching our students how to be in charge of their own learning. Learning to use technology in the classroom teaches our 2nd graders how to delve into new worlds in a safe and responsible way.
We owe our students an education that opens new horizons in this global world. We can provide our students with an education that enables them to navigate this global world to raise their learning and awareness to the highest degree imaginable.