We are joining educators across the country to celebrate Connected Educator Month. During the month of October, we will share tips from Tennessee teachers on how technology enables them to add depth to their instruction. We would love to hear from you. Share how technology empowers you to enhance your students’ learning experience using the hashtag #CE14.
In this post, a first-grade teacher in Lake County and 2014-15 Teacher of the Year finalist shares five ways to engage all your learners, regardless of how much technology you have.
by Kerri Olhausen Newsom, First Grade Teacher, Lake County
Through the Innovative Educator Network, a network of educators dedicated to incorporating technology into their classrooms, I have had the privilege of working with fellow educators across the state to help me create a technology-rich classroom environment that has engaged my students to the fullest. I now can teach any lesson and include such a variety of teaching styles that reach each and every student.
You may think, “What’s changed?” Well, where many schools may have already had interactive boards in use, my school had not. What I have learned through this process is that despite the level of technology in a school, all of the following to-dos apply.
Focus on the Possibilities
We now have access to the world around us at the touch of our fingers. We need to bring these possibilities into our classrooms in order to let our students see beyond the boundaries of their classroom. I teach in a very high poverty county where some children never see beyond the county line. I can now expose them to any place in our country by using virtual field trips and websites.
Experiment and Explore
It takes time, effort, and dedication to find the right lessons, tools, and resources that fit to each standard that we teach. I explore many sites in order to find the right resources that best suit the needs of my students. I know I must use a variety of techniques that will pique the interests of my students. As I find these great tools, I create folders to organize them so that they can be easily accessed.
Engage All Students
By providing lessons that meet the needs of every style of learner, I find my students engaged in every lesson. I see students volunteering and excited about learning. Students not only participate in lessons, but show progress through daily monitoring as well.
Teach Students the Way They Want to Learn
Students enjoy movement, music, technology, and hand-on activities. When given these options and activities in school, they are actually having a great time while learning.
Prepare Them for Their Future
Students today are facing a new world–a world where technology creates new opportunities for employment. By incorporating technology today, we are helping prepare them for tomorrow.
My students are now at the edge of their seats waiting for what is coming next. I feel like my teaching has been totally revolutionized.