What To Do When You're Low on Classroom Technology
Are you one of those teachers that is tired of hearing about everyone else's 1:1 classrooms? Do you feel like your students are falling behind because your school simply does not have access to technology the way other schools do.
I hear ya. This was me!
Listen - I get it. I neeever had the luxury of having a 1:1 digital device ratio. Heck - I didn't even have a 5:1 ratio. It was more like a 1:50 ratio.
Truly - in the school that I taught in we had two mobile computer carts for the whole school to share (We're talking, sign up, sign out, roll-down-the-hallway kind of deal...).
But - guess what? I used technology all.the.time.
Working in a high-poverty, high-needs district, I had to adopt the mentality of "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
If you find yourself in the same boat, being low on technology, I want to empower you to STILL insist on using interactive and engaging technology in your REGULAR instruction. That's right - I said regular instruction.
That means: make it a priority and schedule it consistently into your teaching schedule. It may take a few extra steps in your planning, and you may need to get ahead of the game a bit, but it is soooo worth it.
But - I'm not just going to leave you hanging there - I'm going to give you some strategies and tips that helped ME to incorporate technology activities into my regular teaching.
Since I knew I would have to make the most of my technology time, I made sure that the tech activities that my students participated in were super meaningful and beneficial to their learning.
That's when the idea of "Link & Thinks" was born. As I have since left the classroom to create curriculum full-time, I have poured even more energy into creating Link & Thinks to help teachers take learning from good - to great - to engaging!
That all being said - I had to get creative in how I was able to incorporate of technology activities, like Link & Thinks, into my regular teaching since I was low on technology.
You May Also Like to Read: ENGAGE YOUR STUDENTS WITH LINK & THINK DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES
You can grab a FREE Link & Think Digital Learning Guide on nonfiction text features inside our Member’s Resource Library to try them out!
If you’re already a member, head there now and find this resource under: “READING RESOURCES” inside the library.
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Here are some easy options for using technology in the classroom, even if you don’t have a lot:
Schedule weekly/biweekly technology times
If your school uses mobile carts or houses a computer lab, schedule time to make use of them. Try to plan out several weeks in advance for when you KNOW you'll want to have students work on technology activities. If you set up a regular re-occurring time slot (Let's say- every Thursday morning you'll have access to the carts/computer lab), then you'll know when you're making your weekly lesson plans when you can have your students work on a tech activities.
Use technology as centers.
If you can get your hands on 3-5 digital devices at a time, set up rotations, with your tech activity, like a Link & Think, being one of them. This works seamlessly if you already use an instructional format (such as reader's workshop or writer's workshop) that regularly uses centers. Simply make one of your centers a tech center!
Have a B-Y-O-D Day!
That's "bring-your-own-device” day by the way :). OK - don't write this one off, just yet. This option will definitely take a little extra prep to get it up and running, but perhaps you have several supporting parents that might be willing to drop off (or allow their child to bring in) a laptop, ipad, tablet...etc..to use in the classroom for a portion of the day. Of course you'll need to get permission from the necessary channels, but if you can have several students bring in their own devices, then students can work in groups on the devices to complete different technology activities. It'll be helpful (and reassuring to parents) if you had a place to lock up the devices when you are done using them for the day.
work as a whole group.
Honestly - this was the most used option in my own classroom, and I didn't even have a SMARTBoard until my 5th year teaching! You can use an LCD projector on a white board if that's what it takes! Project the tech activity up for the whole class to see, and work as a group inviting students to participate. Ideal? No. Still effective and engaging? Yes.
Remember: Your students are worth the extra effort to make 21st century learning available to them, and you're just the superstar teacher to make it happen!