Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Technology in a Low-Budget Classroom

Students these days are surrounded by technology, and this can be distracting for students. How are students supposed to pay attention to classroom lectures when outside of school they are constantly stimulated by technology. Teachers should include technology in their classroom instruction not only to keep the students' interest but also to prepare them for the "real world". Elmos and Smartboards are amazing pieces of technology that can do so much to enhance the learning that takes place in the classroom, however these pieces of technology are not inexpensive. So what can teachers with a low budget do to incorporate technology into their classroom instruction? According to one source I found with only a computer, a projector screen, and a connector cord there are inexpensive and free technologies that teachers can incorportate into their classroom.

Word Documents as a White Board and PowerPoint Lectures
By connecting your computer to your projector you are able to project a word document onto the projector screen. This can used to pull up pre-prepared notes, or to record notes as your students brian storm. Students can also be invited to help contribute to the notes by typing their thoughts, this would also personalize the notes and help the students feel connected to what they are learning.
You could also use this word document projection to project graphic organizers and worksheets that the students are working on. This would help students who would benefit from seeing a model as they work. These notes and worksheets can also then be attatched in an e-mail and sent to students and parents.
You could also create a classroom website where students would be able to access resources. This website could also inclue things such as assignments, syllabus, class notes, access to grades, worksheets, ruberics, and links to school and teacher contacts. This would help parents to be abel to be more involved in what their students are learning.

You could also include educational podcasts and webquests in the classroom to help enhance instuction.


  1. Crystal-

    This is pretty neat considering most of us won't have much of a budget our first year of teaching. Even then some of us still won't have a budget given the area in which we teach.

    I like the idea of including the students' parents because that is an essential key that too many teachers miss these days.
    Great work.

  2. Crystal,

    I agree that we need to have some sort of technology in our classroom. We need to be careful with how we use it however. I think technology can be a wonderful thing in the classroom if we use it for the right things. If we are just using it to lecture or for notes then I don't think it is very beneficial for our students. We need to keep our students engaged and there are lots of ideas about how we can use technology to keep our students motivated. I thought it was neat to see some ideas that are inexpensive because as teachers we probably won't be getting all the technology we want.

  3. Crystal,

    I think it's a good idea for every new teacher to think about how they would teach a class if technology was not available to them. Those of us who are a little older remember classrooms with nothing more than and overhead projector and a movie projector (which was shared by multiple departments). The reality is that schools are facing tighter budgets and "non-essential" spending is being eliminated. I've heard stories of schools that give each teacher a limited number of copies they can make on the copy machine! Can it really be that bad? I doubt it.

    But your point is well taken when you mentioned how distracting technology can be. Is it possible we rely too much on technology? We should be able to strike a balance somewhere in the middle.

  4. I have always been a fan of including parents in the classroom. not only is it an extra hand, but it may lead to additional supplies down the road if parents can see how students may be disadvantaged.

    Technology is heavily uwed today- SMARTboards, elmos, computers, calculators, projectors, tvs, etc. However, more technology doesn't necessarily mean more learning. In my opinion, the student's learning capability is based on how the teacher presents the information. A teacher in a low-income school who explicitly explains a graphic organizer for sea creatures may have better results than a teacher in a school in a high SES area that puts "Free Willy" in for the class. I know these are drastic examples; I am just trying ti make a point.

    Although the same information (if not MORE) can be taught without the use of any technology, I do think technology increases interest in a subject. I can remember being more interested in a lesson that had a video, computer work, or powerpoint. However, it's important to use the technology appropriately. Sometimes it's easy to overuse a particular technology (i.e. powerpoints).

    All in all, I do think technology is important in the classroom when it is used properly. We just have to remember that technology isn't the only thing in the classroom; sometimes textbooks, graphic organizers, white boards, journaling, and class discussions may be more appropriate for the situation.