Thursday, June 17, 2010

Essential Classroom Technologies

A question I have been asked several times over the past few months is what are the essential pieces of technology that have to be in a classroom to foster 21st century teaching and learning. With the ISTE conference coming up, and thousands of sales people reaching out for our limited technology dollars, what should we be focusing on purchasing?

I am not a big believer that just adding technology changes instruction, but even the best craftsman likes a good set of tools. Here are my most important classroom technologies:

1. A computing device with reliable, fast, and open access (only filtering what CIPA requires) to the Internet. Even one of these devices in a classroom opens the world’s information and people to our students.
2. A projection device that is visible to all students in the room. This allows all of the students in the classroom to take advantage of the information on the computer at one time.
3. A Good set of speakers. This is an item that is often overlooked. Sound is important, especially in today’s multimedia world.

Give me those 3 items and I have enough to bring the world into my classroom and after that, things can get real exciting. It opens up access to videos and other visuals, great questions and answers with a variety of points of view, and an expert on any topic I can imagine. I am only limited by my creativity, which is limited by my time. Which I still believe is the largest limiting factor in developing our instructional practices. Unfortunately, no piece of technology we add to our classrooms will give us more time, that is something we create for ourselves and dedicate to the things we find to be most important in our lives. However, dedicating a little lime to learning to leverage 3 key pieces of classroom technology can make a big difference in the lives of our kids.

Cross-posted that the TechLearning Advisors Blog

2 comments:

doug0077 said...

Hi Henry,

Good list and interesting topic. I have a growing number of teachers (not all, but many) who insist that an IWB, a voice amplification system, and a digital camera are essentials.

Hope to see you in Denver at ISTE.

Doug

Henry Thiele said...

Doug,

I would put digital camera around #4 or 5. I really like voice amplification for larger classrooms, although I also like how it can allow the teacher to speak in a normal tone in any setting. I am still not sold on IWBs in every classroom with every teacher.