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We all know that technology can be a great tool for teaching and learning, but it is easy to allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut – especially this time of year. Looking for some new ideas? Here are 5 unique ways to integrate technology into classroom instruction:

  1. Use video technology such as Google Hangouts or Skype to connect with authors, experts or other classrooms from around the world. Do your students have a favorite book? Contact the author to see if he/she would be willing to spend some time talking with them. Or, consider reaching out to other teachers for their input. Is there another class reading a book or working on a project that might be motivational for your students to talk about? Have questions prepared ahead of time and use the activity as a springboard for writing activities, or to help your class find new books to read and new projects to try.
  2. Use twitter to enhance classroom activities and/or field trips. Create a classroom hashtag and tweet about specific activities throughout the day. Those tweets can be visible on a computer monitor in your classroom or even a television in the main lobby of your school. The hashtag could also be followed by parents. If you are working with older students who have twitter accounts, they can contribute tweets of their own.
  3. Use a green screen to create videos with students. Using a green screen provides endless possibilities for classroom video work. There are numerous ways to create an inexpensive green screen, but the easiest is to turn your overhead projector or smartboard into a green screen. It is as easy as projecting a large green square/rectangle onto your screen. (You can get even better results with an actual green screen and lights, but a projected version is an easy and inexpensive way to get started.) There are numerous tools available to help with backgrounds and movie making. Check out Green Screen by Do Ink to get started. Have students create video book reports, oral project presentations or record a short video that can be emailed to parents. The possibilities are endless!
  4. Start a classroom blog. Do you wish you had more time and tools to communicate with parents? Assign one student per week to write the classroom blog. Use writing prompts and examples to help get the student writer started. This is a great way to encourage student writing, summarize a week’s worth of activities and engage parents. The best thing about it is that you are able to communicate with parents through the voices of the students. This can have a big impact without taking much of your valuable teacher time.
  5. Use QR codes to enhance lessons. If your students have access to QR code readers through iPads or Chromebooks, start a lesson by putting QR codes around the classroom. Have students access the desired website(s) and start a discussion about the topic. QR codes can be created easily through various Chrome extensions (check out URL Shortener) or other online tools. A second step to this activity is having students create QR codes for their classmates to access to help enhance projects or presentations.

What about you? What interesting ways do you use technology in your classroom? What unique ways have students used technology to complete activities? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.  And, for more information on how to integrate technology using the Big Universe literacy platform, please contact us!

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