Focus question- How can teachers use the technology they already have to promote successful learning?
Regardless if your teaching at a low income small town district or at an affluent suburban system, successfully using the technology available efficiently as possible is an ongoing challenge for teachers. Classrooms with out computers are becoming less and less common each year, but there is still a few schools where theres still only access in the principles office and the computer library. During my observational hours I observed classes in two different schools and I saw two different situations. At the high school level there was only one computer at the teachers desk with a large computer lab in a room attached to the library. At the middle school level, I saw that they had one computer at the teachers desk, two computers in the back of the room, and a classroom size count of computers in their library called the computer lab. Weather the computers at either school were up to date is doubtful.
Regardless if the classroom has a single computer or multiple computers, there are a few strategies that can be used to make the classroom more efficient. Information, students can access educational information all day, any day, any time with internet sites providing dictionaries, thesauruses, maps, weather, video, stories read out loud, games, science demonstrations and writing examples. Interaction, online resources allow students to interact with programs such as read-out-louds, interactive tutoring (like learn to be where I am a math tutor), and the national library of virtual manipulative that is almost unlimited in scope. Presentation, the computer can become a large or small group presentation tool when used with a projector or tv as might be needed in a single computer classroom. Rotation, students can be divided into groups that can do learning modules on the computer, independent work with minimal observation, or receive direct academic instruction. The small groups can rotate between the three experiences either in a single class or in my own preference though the course of several days depending on the learning objective.
This video taken from the Edutopia site suggested in the textbook that I believe goes hand in hand with the material discussed in the chapter and shows some cool applications students can use.
Regardless of the technology you do or don't have access to there are ways to make due and make it efficient though the steps listed above. Teachers need to be prepared to use the technology they have. Even a single computer, when projected can be used for every student as a learning resource.
Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010).Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.