Setting up a classroom where technology plays a part can feel quite daunting at first glance. Here are some quick ways to begin integrating technology, even if you don’t have tablets or laptops for every student.
Setup a Twitter account for your classroom and begin teaching students about how to present information to an audience beyond the classroom walls. Then, by telling parents that the class has a Twitter feed, you can easily broadcast announcements or classroom news to the parents who follow the feed. Allowing students to responsibly use Twitter will also help make them better 21st Century digital citizens.
Always be careful of FERPA laws, so check with your school administration about posting photos. I typically take photos of projects rather than students to avoid any privacy concerns. Plus, the projects are pretty outstanding, so they need to be shown!
Facebook Classroom Page
In the same vain as Twitter, Facebook has a powerful reach into the lives of your classroom families. I won’t say that these social media sites replace the classic weekly/monthly classroom newsletter, but I could see that happening some day. Whichever method of communication you decide to use, online or paper versions, it is important to have students help you write the stories that are being included. This will give your students a sense of ownership of the content and what is going on in their classroom.
Google Docs is an amazing suite of office programs that are free to use within the classroom. By the end of the year, students are using Google Slides to create presentations to enhance their speeches, sharing writing assignments with other students to help edit and revise, and some will even venture into building their own web site. Google Docs are a powerful set of programs that easily connect students with technology that they will use throughout their lifetime.
These are just a few ways to start integrating technology into your classroom. Check out the sidebar for more advanced methods and programs. Good luck!