Math Through Technology
When you think of "technology," many applications may pop into your head, but "teaching tool" may not necessarily be one of them. Why is this? Perhaps it's because of its newness, but technology in the classroom should not be shied away from. To the contrary, it can be one of the most effective teaching tools available.
Educate Your Students By Gaining Their Interest
Students these days are subjected to a barrage of fast-paced mental stimulation, from music videos to video games. Too many teachers see these as hopeless competition, when really they could be using the same techniques to grab students' attention and teach them something at the same time. Textbooks may be the backbone of the classes you teach - it is hard to do otherwise, really - but by no means must they be the only source of learning.
• Getting your students active and working together is your best avenue toward getting them interested. Technology is a great tool for this: not only will your students have a more vivid memory of their math lessons, but they will be learning a slew of technical skills as well. Send your class on WebQuests for research. Instead of poster-board team projects, why not have them construct a PowerPoint presentation? Take them to the school's computer lab to check out math-related podcasts. (If your classroom has individual computer, so much the better!) Engaging your students and keeping them active will really make your lessons memorable, and teach new skills to boot!
• Mix things up! If you only stick to one variation of interaction, it will become just as much of a routine as textbooks in no time flat. Play a math game with your students one day, and play them some math music the next. Every day can’t be extra-special (those chapter tests have to come sometime), but your students will treasure the times when they are.
Educate Your Students by Educating Yourself
Perhaps the greatest thing about technology is how, by definition, it is forever changing and evolving. However, as technology changes, you have to be prepared to keep up with it. Luckily, there are many different resources available to teachers for honing and upkeep of your tech-savvy skills.
• One of your biggest allies is the internet -- take this very site, for example! Many educational resources you already trust have online outlets these days. PBS is a shining example, with an assortment of ideas and sources to supplement your lesson plans at any specific topic or grade level grouping.
• If you find yourself growing bored at your own lessons, then perhaps you need a little more than just some website suggestions. In fact, a refresher course of even a new degree may be in order. Of course, these days you don't have to give up your teaching career while you get an education of your own! Many online teaching universities offer instructional technology degrees to bring you up to date on cutting-edge learning theory and all the latest in software and multimedia (and how it best fits in with your curricula!), and best of all, you can take the classes on your own time and even work new ideas into your current lesson plans!
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