Becoming an elementary school teacher has so many rewards, but with them comes the huge responsibility of inspiring and preparing children for the world that lies ahead. Students need certified teachers—those with a teaching degree–who are committed to engaging them in all areas relevant to today’s world. Namely, core subjects and 21st-century themes and skills.
Contemporary teaching strategies need to encompass more than reading, math, science, and history. Topics such as global awareness and economics are important, as is literacy in areas such as civics, health, and the environment. In order to be successful, students need to gain critical thinking and problem-solving skills; learn flexibility and adaptability; and understand accountability, creativity, leadership, and innovation. It’s a lot to take in. One way elementary school teachers approach educating their students in these areas is by integrating technology in the classroom.
Children’s access to technology is increasingly growing. Kids are, on average, 12 years old when they get their first mobile device, and more than a third under the age of 2 are already using technology.* Technology is meant to enhance—not replace—traditional instructional objectives. Teachers who embrace technology in the classroom have the power to improve student success by further engaging students in their lessons.
While there are some technology tools that are free or inexpensive, others can cost schools a lot of money. Teachers also must invest time in learning how to use the tech tools and understanding how they can improve their students’ educational experience. Here are four brilliant ways teachers are using technology in their classrooms:
- Leveling the Learning Environment: Every classroom is different and full of students with varying degrees of abilities. While this provides an enriching learning environment, it also presents challenges for teachers. Through adaptive learning, teachers use data to better understand students’ needs in order to adjust tactics and personalize a student’s learning experience.† In addition, by providing students with tablets or other hand-held devices, there is no back row—every student has the ability to clearly see the lesson, which presents increased opportunity for engagement, motivation, and learning.
- Bringing Educational Content to Life: SMART boards (a modern overhead projector) and the use of clickers and smartphones are popular ways teachers are using technology in their classrooms to make difficult concepts easier to understand. Research from SMART Technologies shows that teachers who pair the frequent use of technology with best practices in the classroom are over 340% more likely to achieve success.‡ Clickers and smartphones are often used so teachers can quickly assess how students are grasping content—through answers to polls, quizzes, and drawing prompts. Smartphones can also be used to create podcasts of lessons so students can access the content as needed.
- Permitting Student Ownership of Their Education: When students are involved in their education, they can be more engaged with the content, its delivery, and understanding. Through gamification, students make their own avatars and can earn and lose points based on behavior, engagement, collaboration, and productivity. The interaction not only makes it more fun but also encourages students to uphold classroom values.
- Communicating With Families: Modern parents often want to know how their child is evolving and improving as a human being, and teachers are a critical gateway to acquiring that information. Instead of waiting for scheduled parent-teacher meetings, teachers now have the ability to inform and interact with parents in real-time via e-mail and newsletters. Parents can also access things such as spelling lists, assignments, grades, and school and class calendars to reinforce what their child is learning in class.
Gain the skills you need to create and implement methods for using technology in the classroom by earning a degree from Walden University. Walden offers an online BS in Elementary Education that can prepare you for teacher certification. It’s a great degree for those wishing to begin their career as an educator.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
*Growing Wireless, “Kids Wireless Use Facts,” on the internet at www.growingwireless.com/get-the-facts/quick-facts.
†Wagner, D., “Personalize Math Learning With Adaptive Tools,” THE Journal, on the internet at https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/04/26/personalize-math-learning-with-adaptive-tools.aspx.
‡SMART Technologies, “Teaching, Technology, and Learning: Understanding the Interconnection,” on the internet at https://education.smarttech.com/~/media/files/events%20and%20tradeshows/ed_activelearningresearch_v7.ashx.
Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.
Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Educator Certification Section of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-353-8567 or www.alsde.edu to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.
Prospective Washington state students are advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 1-360-725-6400 or firstname.lastname@example.org to determine whether Walden’s programs in the field of education are approved for teacher certification or endorsements in Washington state. Additionally, teachers are advised to contact their individual school district as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Walden is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching to offer a program leading to initial licensure in Elementary Education. Candidates must pass the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLEs) before Walden can recommend candidates to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for the license. Candidates are responsible for completing any other Minnesota requirements beyond Walden’s state-approved program and MDE is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses.
Individuals interested in an elementary education licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify by virtue of completing a state-approved teacher preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers.
Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement.