In today’s world, finding a classroom free of technological learning tools is rare. From SMART technology panels and iPads to individual laptops for every student, innovative technology helps students develop vital skills through various devices and platforms. However, for some parents, too much technology could be a concern, as it’s important for children to have a balance of technological and traditional learning methods in the classroom.
At St. Timothy’s School, we incorporate technology to increase students’ access to information, personalize learning experiences, and instill communication skills that prepare students for high school and beyond. However, we use a multifaceted approach to learning that includes technological teaching methods but also incorporates notebooks, textbooks, and other traditional learning tools and manipulatives. Below, we’ve compiled a list of things to look for in a school that uses technology in the classroom.
Schools should establish classroom rules to keep students engaged and well-behaved. From attendance policies to academic honesty guidelines, it’s essential to lay down expectations for students. And when it comes to technology–these rules should still apply.
Teachers should establish clear ground rules for device usage in the classroom, encouraging students to practice integrity when exploring cyberspace. When outlining the difference between personal and classroom device usage, teachers should prohibit platforms irrelevant to their curriculum. If they choose to allow technological playtime, these periods of personal use should only come after assignments are completed. At St. Timothy’s School, we enforce a Technology Acceptable Use Policy for students to abide by when using their devices. Using GoGuardian software, our educators monitor students to ensure they learn safely, stay focused, and get engaged. By following these guidelines, students can differentiate personal and classroom device usage and maintain their focus when online.
Educators should always appreciate the power of hands-on learning. This widely popular educational style incorporates a “learning by doing” approach, allowing students to learn by immersing themselves in a more abstract learning environment or activity.
Hands-on and project-based learning are effective ways to give students a break from their computer screens and embrace a more interactive and collaborative learning style. Whether students learn fractions through a cooking recipe or study the water cycle through an interactive science lab experiment, hands-on learning looks different in every classroom. But regardless of its shape or form, hands-on lessons effectively allow students to unplug and have fun.
Zero Technological Reliance
Technology can be a major asset in the classroom, but relying on it may cause students to take educational shortcuts. While tools like spell check can come in handy, students need to independently develop a foundational understanding of critical concepts. And sometimes, these foundations are best built with a good old-fashioned textbook, pen, and paper. However, many technological resources are excellent learning enhancers. A good rule of thumb is to avoid generic educational software that limits students through closed answers and “fill-in-the-blank” responses. Instead, students should explore platforms that challenge their creativity and critical thinking skills.
Role Models in the Classroom
While technology can distract students from their work, the same goes for teachers. If students frequently witness their educators pausing work to check their devices, they could later develop similar habits. For this reason, it’s important to choose a school where teachers continuously set an example for students as they navigate a healthy balance of personal and professional device usage and offline activities.
Time for Movement
Getting students up and moving in and outside of the classroom allows students to unplug and have fun. There are many ways teachers can implement movement into their curriculum and give students a break from extended periods of sitting at their desks. From performing science experiments out in nature to playing historical charades in the classroom, movement is a great way to challenge students’ cognitive abilities in new ways. In addition, recess should also be instilled in students’ daily routines, as it allows them to get offline and form connections with peers. At. St. Timothy’s School, our lower and middle school students play outside at least once a day. By doing so, our students have the opportunity to get outside, get moving, and take time to decompress outside of the classroom.
Private Education at St. Timothy’s SchoolAt St. Timothy’s School, we take a balanced approach to lifelong learning. While incorporating educational technology tools and traditional learning materials, we encourage students to find balance in their individual learning paths. Visit our site today to learn more about how technology and design plays a part in the comprehensive, research-based curriculum at St. Timothy’s.