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Choosing and Using Technology in the Classroom

by Kristine Burgess

With a variety of technology options available for classroom use, it can be difficult to know what to choose and when to incorporate it. Joy Zabala’s SETT Frameworks provide helpful documents to aid teachers in determining if a technology option is appropriate, as well as help them to consider which skills the chosen technology should target. It is important to note that technology is not appropriate for every student, nor is it effective in every situation. Following these guidelines can help to determine if, when, and how to use technology on a case-by-case basis to benefit a specific student by considering the following questions:

  • Is the student struggling to engage in and keep up with the class content?
  • Is the student receiving remediation in areas of skill weakness?
  • Would the student benefit from utilizing a technological tool to advance remediation and provide a forum for accessing class content?
  • Does the student have the necessary technological knowledge and training to use the technology?
  • Which technological tool will best serve the student’s needs?
  • What training and implementation need to occur in order for the student to benefit from the use of technology?

Teachers should also be intentional about which programs and apps they choose to incorporate, as well as how they plan to utilize them within their lessons. Technology is best used when it allows students to feel successful in their mastery of both content and skills. When it comes to educational technology, there is no one size fits all approach. Any time a new tool is introduced for student use, it should be researched well and targeted for a specific purpose. Therefore, ample time is needed to provide the necessary training for both staff and students to receive instruction and practice using these new tools. In a whole group setting, technology can be used to support instruction by incorporating tools to aid in the exploration and review of curriculum. This resource contains suggestions for utilizing technology in the classroom.

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences suggests that there are many different learning styles. Using technology to enhance instruction in the classroom can help teachers ensure that they are addressing each student’s learning style. In this way, the teacher is meeting Landmark’s first Teaching Principle, “Provide Opportunities for Success.” By encouraging students to engage with the material in a variety of formats, the teacher can help to ensure that they can all access the curriculum. This practice can be particularly helpful for students who may not have the same success in a paper-pen driven environment. These repeated and differing exposures to the curriculum promote student success, especially for students who lack confidence in certain skill areas.

Students need to be able to use technology to appropriately and independently enhance their learning experiences, and they benefit from multiple meaningful exposures to these tools in order to master their use. The more practice and review students receive, along with direct instruction in how to effectively apply technological aids, the more likely they will be to use these tools across content areas. For the full text of the Landmark Teaching Principles™, including “Provide Opportunities for Success,” click here. And for a more detailed review of which tools may be appropriate for various school grades, please see this resource.

 

References

Gardner, H. (n.d.). Howard Gardner’s Official MI Site. Retrieved April 02, 2018, from http://multipleintelligencesoasis.org/

Zabala, J. S., ED.D. (2018). SETT Framework Documents. Retrieved April 02, 2018, from http://www.joyzabala.com/Documents.html

Kristine began working at Landmark High School in 2010 as a language arts tutorial teacher after having earned her bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College. She has since earned her master’s degree in special education from Simmons College and is now the reading department head, as well as a teacher in the reading department.

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