Integrating technology into instruction can have countless advantages for student learning. My students are engaged and practicing 21st century skills while also learning core content. It’s not the same as blended learning, but who says you have to choose one or the other? My journey into blended learning began with an interest in technology integration. I’ll explain the different levels of integration and share some of my favorite lesson ideas with you.
The SAMR Model
The SAMR model is a pretty well known explanation of four different ways a teacher can use technology in her classroom. Each level uses technology in a different way. Technology can be used to enhance what is already being done in the classroom. It can also be used to transform learning- allowing students and teachers new learning possibilities. Check out this two minute video for some very applicable examples of each SAMR level.
|By Lefflerd CC BY-SA 4.0|
When my grade level received one-to-one devices for our students, my goal was to go beyond simply replacing paper and pencil with laptops and keyboards. I wanted to integrate technology in ways that would not only make learning better for my students, but be manageable at the same time. I decided to take one lesson idea for each grading period and integrate technology into something I was already doing. Here are a few ways I have done that.
Comics are a great way to teach about conflict. In our unit about story elements, my students used digital comics to practice creating and depicting conflict. It was a great way to engage students. Since comics are relatively short, students were able to create multiple short stories.
Video Book Talks
A crucial fourth grade skill is summarizing the main events in the plot of a story. A typical classroom task might involve simply retelling the main events, writing a summary paragraph, or outlining the story.
Our one-to-one devices also allow video recording, so it is a natural step for my class to create video book talks. Students record their work and share it with peers in order to recommend further reading. Students practice summarizing a story, creating media, and communicating to an authentic audience with the addition of technology. Better yet, students are encouraging their peers to read books they find interesting!
Project Based Learning: Creating Persuasive Media
I’m thrilled about this PBL lesson I created for one of my graduate school classes. I plan to implement it this spring with my students in conjunction with our persuasive writing unit. It also addresses our science content about natural resources. Students learn about current issues concerning our natural resources and then apply persuasive techniques when creating digital medial. Check it out: Natural Resources: Make a Change!
One of the most challenging Language Arts concepts for my fourth graders to grasp is the dynamic nature of characters and plot. My students really struggle to understand how a character impacts the plot of a story. To address this issue, I had my students take the well known story of The Three Little Pigs, and give the Big Bad Wolf a new character trait. This character trait would then change what happened in the story.
After working with my students on this task during reading groups for about a week, I thought about using digital stories as a tool. I created a model for my students, and next school year, I plan to have my students create their own digital stories. Watch my digital story model of the Three Little Pigs and the Lazy Wolf.
Give it a Try!
If you’re unsure about technology integration, I encourage you to take a lesson that you already teach and try to incorporate technology. Make it manageable. It’s a process- and the evolving nature of technology ensures that it will always be changing. EdTechTeacher is a great resource if you are looking for apps, lessons, and collaboration.