I have heard countless times, expressions similar to the following: “I would teach my class technology, but there isn’t any time for it.” “The district says I have to do XYZ so there isn’t time for technology.” “My kids are too young, and it takes too long.”
Common theme? No Time!! I think that the real problem is the lack of ability to integrate. Technology in the elementary years, at least, isn’t- or shouldn’t- be taught as a subject matter, rather a tool to learn subject matter. Until this year, I taught 5th grade. I had to meet my standards, I had to keep pace with pacing guides, and yes, I even had to prepare students for testing, but I did it all with the use of technology. Now it helps that I know a lot about technology, and that I grew up with it, but others can do likewise.
Technology is NOT going away. In fact, it will only continue to infiltrate our lives in ways we can’t yet comprehend. 20 years ago, it was science fiction to think that a child too sick to be at school, could continue to learn right along with her friends through the use of such programs as Skype. Now, we have that capability.
- If you can do it with a pencil, you can do it on the computer- typing papers, drawing, even completing a worksheet.
- If you can make a 3D model, you can probably use Google Sketchup.
- If it can be written on the chalkboard, it can go on the smartboard– not to mention that it then becomes interactive.
- If you can find it on a globe, you can not only find it, but come close to experiencing it on Google Earth.
- If you can read about it in the library, you can access more information on it that you can use on the internet.
- Want to take your kids on a field trip, but don’t have the funds to go everywhere you want to go? Make it a virtual trip!
Integrating technology is not hard to do. Does it take a little more planning? Yes, at first, but like anything, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.