Are you tired of locating the "perfect" Internet activity, only to find it full of dead links and confusing directions? Are you bored with PowerPoint? Are you looking for interesting technology integration activities that work the first time, every time? Look no further! Included: Activities, examples, and complete directions that will make you look like a tech expert whatever grade you teach!
As you head back to school this fall, it's likely that you face a strong administrative mandate to more fully integrate technology into your curriculum. It's true, of course, that technology can revolutionize and revitalize your curriculum. Technology-based activities grab your students' interest and imagination and provide information and experiences they could never hope to find in a textbook.
For many teachers, however, using technology also presents a significant challenge. When will you find the time to locate or develop technology integration activities that work? What will you have to sacrifice as you go through the inevitable process of trial and error involved in any new activity?
To help you solve those problems and meet that challenge, to simply get you started as quickly and easily as possible, we asked the Education World Tech Team members to share with you some of their favorite tried-and-true technology integration activities.
"One of the more exciting aspects of my job is seeing teachers take hold of technology and incorporate it into their own classroom needs," Lydia Patrick told Education World. "I had the opportunity to work on this activity with kindergarten teacher Tanya Anastasia, who wanted to create an interactive science activity for her students. The resulting project [below] is age-appropriate and fun to work through."
Title: Race to Space
Objective: Students identify the basic components of the solar system.
Materials: computers, Race to Space student page, and Race to Space teacher's page
Assessment: Students click the star beneath the moon and then complete the interactive assessment activity.
PRIMARY AND UPPER ELEMENTARY
"Our social studies curriculum includes a study of celebrations around the United States and the world," Mary Kreul told Education World. "We read books and stories on how people celebrate special days in their communities and with their families, and we exchange information on celebrations with key pals from around the world. The culminating activity for this unit is a family celebrations slide show project.
"After creating the slide show, we present it at our school's open house, so parents and other visitors can understand how technology is integrated into the second-grade curriculum. The open house provides an authentic audience for student work," Kreul noted. "Student slides can also be posted to the class Web page."
If you're interested in impressing the parents at your school's open house, you might want to give the activity a try yourself!
Title: My Family Celebration
Subject: Social Studies, Language Arts, Technology
Objective: Students explore the different ways in which people celebrate special days in their own communities.
Materials: Computers, Kid Pix Deluxe, Inspiration, or Kidspiration
Assessment: Students are assessed based on an assessment checklist, the mind maps, storyboards, and slides. The checklist can be also be used by students for self-assessment.
UPPER ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL
Beth Gregor shared an activity begun by Susan Freifeld, an art teacher at Pleasantdale Elementary School. "Susan started the Starry Night project with our fourth graders," Gregor told Education World. "Then she came to me and we added other components. Susan prefaces the project in the art room by teaching the students about Vincent Van Gogh. They do preliminary drawings using the techniques of horizon line, foreground, and background. At that point, the students come to the technology lab for several more 30-minute lessons."
The project involves a total of eight lessons:
"My favorite integration lesson is King Tutankhamun: Was It Murder?," Madeleine Decker told Education World. "This WebQuest, which I created, gave me the opportunity to communicate with another teacher, who did the activity with her class and sent me the results. My students and I were amazed when we found out her class was located in Australia. What a small world we have become!
"This WebQuest is all inclusive," Decker pointed out. "It contains active links, a rubric, examples, a suggested grade level, correlation to [Illinois] state standards, and a teacher direction page. (Be sure to read it before beginning the activity, so all appropriate documents can be downloaded, printed, and copied.) I would recommend the WebQuest for students in grades 6-8, although it has been used at lower and higher levels. Even the special education students in my sixth-grade inclusion class were able to participate because of the cooperative learning strategies involved. The WebQuest can be done in a computer lab or in a five-computer-station setting. It loads very quickly, considering the heavy graphics-to-text ratio.
"The quest, which includes some fun hidden elements and special effects, gets a lot of activity and is very popular," Decker noted.
"I teach social studies to seventh grade," Katy Wonnacott told Education World. "As part of our work on the economy, we visit Look Who's Footing the Bill, a WebQuest about the national debt. Then, using a graphic organizer, such as Inspiration, we map what we've learned, what the problems are, who needs to be made aware of the issue, and how to educate them. Students work in groups to create a persuasive presentation, usually incorporating a multimedia product such as a PowerPoint."
MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL
Fred Holmes submitted a project that can be used during a unit on the Civil War. Students research the Civil War by becoming tour guides, Holmes told Education World. "They research pictures and events of the war and then create a presentation for the class."
Now you can take a guided tour of Holmes's lesson:
Title: Civil War Guided Tour
Subject: Civil War
Objective: Students investigate events that took place during the Civil War.
Materials: Selected Civil War Photographs, computer, projector for presentations
Lesson: Arrange students into groups and assign each group a year during which the Civil War was fought. Provide the following directions:
Assessment: Students are evaluated on how their information is presented and on the appropriateness of the photographs used.
Article by Lorrie Jackson
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