Modern classrooms differ greatly from those that students attended just 15 years ago. Although textbooks are still considered a chief source for learning, technology is now considered fundamental to preparing students for entrance into adult careers. Yet the benefits aren’t only long-term ones. Studies show improved student achievement and self-concept, attitude and teacher-student interaction in classrooms when technology is employed as an alternative method of learning.
There is some good news and bad news when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. The bad news is, classroom technology can be costly, which is especially challenging for educators in light of diminishing school budgets. Technology is often one of the first programs cut. However, the good news is there are ways to integrate technology in your classroom without breaking the bank. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Use what you have – Think outside the box when it comes to your computer. Most older students probably already know how to message or email on their home computers. But do they know how to access programs that will help them with homework or project presentations? Offer students the opportunity to give book reports or presentations using PowerPoint. Show younger students how to use Windows Paint or Kid Pix to draw illustrations for units they are studying. They could draw a map of a famous battle they are studying in history, show the correct number of something for math concepts, or illustrate a plant species and its anatomy for science. When technology is integrated in the classroom daily, learning will be enhanced as students become comfortable with using a variety of programs. And since work can be saved to a disk or a thumb drive, less paper and other supplies will be wasted with classroom projects.
Infinite library – The internet offers a virtually unlimited “library” of information, most of it offered free of charge. Yet sometimes it can be a challenge to find the information you need. Give students practice using your class computer’s search feature by encouraging them to find information on the internet. Present an argument and challenge students to find information about the topic. Have them include supporting statements from credible advocates on both sides of the issue, adding their own opinion at the end. Students will learn how to search difficult topics, realize there is always more than one side to a story and teach them about finding credible sources for the information they need. Students can also create trivia questions about a unit topic by finding information on corporate or government websites. They can explore their own state by going to the state website or learn more about business by reading the “about us” tab of a corporation or organization they are interested in.
Wii remote whiteboard – If you have a computer with Bluetooth capabilities, a Wii remote control, a computer project screen (recommended), and a few inexpensive electronics, you can create a whiteboard for your classroom. Instructions for this project can be found at:

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