I’m helping my daughter’s elementary school write a grant for technology. The school is extremely low tech. The first step in their long-term plan to adopt and integrate technology is to outfit the teachers with laptops and LCD projectors.
I stressed the importance of articulating how this technology would translate into improved learning for students. The key to writing any grant is to ensure that the focus stays on the students and learning, not on the technology. The technology is just a vehicle. It should not be the goal.
Since I know many teachers may only have access to a computer and LCD projector in their classrooms, I wanted to share some ideas and strategies for how to use them in creative ways to create relevance, capture attention and connect to resources.
- Google Earth and Google Maps – Use maps to inspire storytelling or engage students in solving collaborative math map challenges.
- Documentaries, TED Talks, news clips, interviews – Streaming video can help make connections between class work and “real life” easier for students.
- Tackle real-world problems or scenarios – Yummy math is a fun site for finding Common Core-aligned real-world math challenges.
- Publish student work – If students know they will have to share their work with their peers, they will want that work to be strong. It also celebrates their value as members of the class community.
- Connect with classrooms all over the world – Use Skype or Google+ to chat with other classes about a variety of topics.
- Demonstrate citation practices – In our increasingly digital world, it is crucial to show students how to give credit when they use images, videos, and information.
- Graphs, charts, flowcharts, and infographics – Project information displayed in a variety of formats and ask students to analyze and discuss. Their observations, inferences, and ideas can be captured on a whiteboard next to the projected image.
- Project practice quizzes and tests – Guide students in effectively preparing for an exam.
- Online textbooks and digital writing – Encourage interaction with digital texts by projecting them to facilitate discussions, group annotations, debates, etc.
- Share personal narratives – Personalize the classroom and encourage students to share their stories using multimedia. Students can project images as they speak. This develops public speaking skills at every age and builds a stronger class community!
- Timer – Display a stopwatch to keep kids (and yourself) on track during activities.
- Warm ups and exit tickets – Project the warm-up question as students enter and/or wrap up a lesson by asking students to reflect on what they learned and ask questions about information they still do not understand.
- Modeling – Show students how to do everything from correctly format a piece of writing to actively read a complex text.
- Collaborative hands-on activities – Project a timeline, blank map, Venn diagram or storyboard template onto your whiteboard. Then allow students to work together to fill in the timeline, label the parts of the map, and
- Movies – Show related, high-interest films.
- Music videos – Get creative with music! Use music to inspire critical thinking about language, grammar, and word use; make cultural and/or thematic connections with music; or teach a foreign language.
- Eye-catching screensaver – Easily get your students attention at the conclusion of an activity by displaying a visually interesting image.
- Prezi or PowerPoint – Transform traditional lectures with multimedia presentations.
- Graphic organizers – Project a variety of graphic organizers and allow students to either replicate and complete individually or collaboratively complete as a class.
- Ditch handouts – Project handouts, instructions, directions, and assignment details to save paper.
Connect to Resources
- Research – When your students have a question you don’t know the answer to, empower them to search for it and share what they learn.
- Demonstrations, labs, and experiments – If you don’t have the resources to conduct a lab, use online resources like Steven Spangler Science and show students fascinating labs online.
- Virtual museum tours – Check out some of the best online museum tours and field trips (i.e. The Smithsonian, Planet in Action, National Gallery of Art, The Louvre).
- Tutorials – If you students are working on a problem and get stuck, they can access quick tutorials on sites like Khan Academy.
- Artwork – Use photography, artwork and other images to inspire creative writing, reflection, and analysis.
- Math manipulatives – Check out sites like Virtual Manipulative or National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
- Google apps – Connect to your Google docs, presentations, drawings, forms and spreadsheets in the classroom.
- Games and online learning tools – project and engage the entire class!
- Library of Congress – Use primary and secondary resources in your classroom without worrying about formatting them.
- Online magazines – Grab the best images from resources like The National Geographic or Life Magazine to use in the classroom.
If you are using your LCD projector in creative and engaging ways, I invite you to share your strategies! I always love learning from other educators. Thank you!