Magazine article Teach

How to Manage a Digital Classroom

Magazine article Teach

How to Manage a Digital Classroom

Article excerpt

In a traditional model of teaching, the teacher is the source of knowledge. Learning is based on one-dimensional materials that are directly connected to curriculum content and skills. Today's resources however, are digital, interactive, and visually rich; a stark contrast to rather lengthy text description of topics and themes. Students are now at the centre of their learning and use today's technology and resources in ways very different from traditional learning materials. They access multiple sources, customize material to suit their needs, mix various media to create new learning, and then share it with unlimited peers through their social networking sites.

As we transition from traditional teaching and learning approaches to digital and interactive ones, we need to carefully plan and prepare the learning environment. As good teachers have done for decades, good planning provides learning environments that enable students to successfully optimize their potential for success. Having a management plan is essential when using digital learning tools. This plan should cover components such as, classroom organization, instructional strategies, technology availability, and time. The following are some suggestions on planning your digital classroom.

CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT

* All of your students do not need access to devices all the time. Plan and be specific about what you want the students to use the technology for. What learning goals does the technology support? What is the best technology for specific learning tasks?

* When you have a limited number of computers or hand-held devices available for group activities and students have to share, consider assigning specific roles to group members. If everyone has a specific job to do it is much easier for students to focus on the learning goal.

* Arrange classroom seating so that it is easy for you to move around the room and get to students quickly.

* Actively monitor student use of the technology. Walk around the classroom; be aware of which websites students are accessing and how they are working together.

* Provide students with clear guidelines on school policies and procedures in working with technology in the classroom. Every school should have an Acceptable User Policy on what constitutes proper behaviour when using technology. It is important to establish norms for student behaviour, in your classroom within the context of the project. Have students participate in the development of the acceptable use and etiquette guidelines in your class.

* Establish at the beginning of the unit how and where you want students to organize their data related to the project such as naming files, storing, and sharing files.

* Establish a backup plan for those days when the technology or the Internet connection is not available.

* Ensure the websites and learning platforms you recommend to students are secure. Review which web sites your students are recommending to each other.

* Provide students with a rubric or organizer which clearly defines project expectations and also provides direct communication with parents about the project

* Post anchor charts that provide technology tips or software instructions or put them in a binder near the computers. An evolving list of tips can be generated by the students as they work through the unit.

INSTRUCTIONAL APPROACHES

* Review the learning material provided from manuals or teacher's guides, and map the curriculum to several disciplines, including as many expectations as possible to cover and evaluate in the teaching of the unit. …

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