In Jacksonville, Illinois, Jeremy DeGroot wasn’t having the easiest time in his classroom, split between fifth and sixth graders. He figured out right away that using technology for classroom management would make it a lot easier to teach this split class, according to local news source the Journal Courier. DeGroot has 15 sixth graders and 10 fifth graders at Washington Elementary School and found by his own experimentation that technology is a great way to reach these kids.
“I’m really big into self-discovery,” DeGroot told the news source. “The kids learn so much just by looking at a screen. What better place for them to discover than by themselves in a classroom.”
DeGroot uses PowerPoint presentations, Facebook pages and other technology. For example, his kids made Facebook pages for famous figures in history and were able to write on the walls in the voice that person would write with. Sixth-grade student Nathan Albracht said that he never thought about technology before he came to DeGroot’s classroom, but the teacher pushesstudents to use technology to learn more about themselves and the subjects they are being taught.
Mary Beth Hertz, a computer lab teacher, shared some tips to use when teaching elementary students with technology.
“In conversations with educators in the lower grades, I often find that there is a sense of frustration or even fear in bringing technology into the classroom,” Hertz wrote on Edutopia. “These emotions have nothing to do with a fear or frustration with technology itself. In fact, many of these educators WANT to bring technology into their classroom but are boggled by how to train or prepare 6-9 year olds to create multi-step and engaging projects.”
She said teachers should start their students off small, not try to teach too much at once, give the kids some time to play around with the new technology, and assess the students’ progress with technological tools so as not to confuse the kids.
What technology have you seen work in the classroom? Is it time for all schools to move beyond the classroom computer and into the next era? Let us know what you think in the comments!