Nervous About Technology in the Classroom? It’s Already There—and That’s Good News.

Even if you never touch the computer console that’s probably built into your room, even if you don’t know anything about blogs or have a policy against students working on laptops in class, you’re still working with technology—which is to say: practical, human-made tools that help you teach and that help your students learn.

Seen through this definition, the pencils and pens in your students’ hands are technology, and so is the chalkboard or whiteboard that most teachers use for notes. Certainly email qualifies, and PowerPoint and Google Slides do, too. The point is that you and your students are already rallying tools to the cause of education, and you’re doing it the right way: first you identify a need or a goal (e.g., taking notes, communicating), and then you call on the relevant technology to help you get where you want to go.

For some teachers, writing implements and writing surfaces can cover all the situation’s needs. But thinking openly might remind you of needs you hadn’t considered, needs that technology could help you meet. For example, maybe you want to encourage more class participation. Well, requiring students to contribute to an online discussion board before class could get them warmed up for in-class discussion. Or maybe the use of clickers or online polling would bring more people into the conversation. Do you wish you had more time in class to apply the concepts students are learning? Tools like lecture capture can free up in-class time by moving more material to the time between sessions. You want students to collect material that can ultimately help them advance in the field? An e-portfolio could be a useful tool.

The main point is this: There are things you want to get done in your course, and the range of technologies is so enormous right now that there might just be a technology out there that can support you.

The Teaching Commons’ Teaching with Technologies page offers examples of common teaching goals along with with an array of technological solutions. We hope you’ll find something you can use!

As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions—and here’s hoping your semester is ending well!