Harnessing the Power of Technology in the Classroom

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Prompt: Write a blog post in response to our class on digital history.

This past week we explored the use of internet technologies in the classroom, such as Twitter and NY Times Chronicle. It was very entertaining and informational, specifically the NY Times Chronicle.

I found it hard to think of ways to use Twitter, the way that Twitter is supposed to be used, in a classroom. It is an interesting idea though to challenge the students to get their point across in only 140 characters and playing with that format would be fun in the classroom, specifically the Language Arts classroom.  I could also see having students recreate various conflicts through the use of Twitter or another social media site; that might be a fun project/assignment.

Websites like NY Times chronicle or GapMinder, to me, have a much more direct use in the classroom. For example if I was teaching a global studies or social issues class, the GapMinder program comes in handy. This is a program that compares two different measures- such as economics and education- over time for a variety of countries (those that have the data available) . I can easily see myself showing this tool to students in class and having them play with it, then giving them a homework assignment around it thinking about themes we’ve talked about in class.

Same sort of thing with the NY Times chronicle but for American history classes that cover anywhere from 1800-modern times. I feel that students could search and compare key terms but also historical figures. The best part of this is that you can click the line on the graph and see the articles where it has been used. This search tool could be an interesting component of a unit project or even a long term project.

Overall I think technology in the classroom is a good thing when you pick the right tech for you and your classroom. I also don’t think that technology for technology’s sake is beneficial for students. What it comes down to is what is beneficial for the students and what we, as teachers, are comfortable doing.

Image credit: Gerd Leonhard, Flickr, accessed 11/01/15. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gleonhard/9563085778 

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