Substitute Teacher Technology Tips to Create an Engaging Classroom

Encouraging an active classroom is fundamental to the success of any teacher, substitute or otherwise. In fact, engaging students is often a primary struggle for those who substitute teach. Furthermore, it is no secret that technology is now an important part of our world. We interact with screens daily, and they have moved from a luxury to a way of life. While it generally makes our lives more convenient, it also introduces an entirely new set of issues for teachers and parents for which there is no model. While technology engages and attracts students, when do we put all the school books on iPads? How do we best integrate it in order to create a bridge between home and school?

Technology creates a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. New regulations and professional opinions about screen time focus less on the amount of time and more on the use. This, in addition to a new tech-savvy generation of teachers and administrators, has led to more room for experimentation in order to find the proper balance. It extends far beyond just using computers in the classroom. The top 4 tech ideas to try that create an active classroom teachers claim best engage their pupils while helping to equip them with important workplace skills are:

  1. Set projects to get students collaborating
  2. Use instant messaging apps to engage shy learners
  3. Get students to record and share their progress
  4. Use games to bring learning to life

These strategies are authentic and reasonable as they connect familiar educational concepts and things that they may use at home (such as games and apps) with the classroom. They use technology to deal with traditional yet important concepts for an active classroom such as team work, problem solving, building confidence, and critical thinking. Below are a few more suggestions and ways to expand on the above ideas.

Games

While most games do make education more fun for the average learner, there are some games that specifically aim to integrate technology. For example, using Microsoft Excel to create a game show such as Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire will pull the students in. There are also webquests which are like virtual scavenger hunts where students find specific information on the web. While webquests help students gather information and learn valuable research skills, virtual game shows are appropriate for almost any topic.

Access Social Media

Many teachers are afraid of interacting with students on social media, and rightfully so as it can lead to sticky situations. That said, depending on the use, things like Facebook and Twitter can be friends, not foe to an active classroom. Students will be much more excited about practicing valuable summarizing skills, identifying main ideas, and many other important features of reading/writing if assigned to review a book or other work via social media. Always make sure that this is age appropriate and approved by parents and/or administration. It may be a good idea to check their work using the school’s social media accounts.

Classroom Webpage

This idea is useful not only because of the content it will include, but also because it will be closer to the way they will operate in the real world. Students will eventually have to navigate internal company websites and find the appropriate avenue to locate information. Classroom webpages can include but are not limited to a syllabus, blog, photos, and even supporting documents that help further understanding with support materials. It can also help communication with that hard to reach parent.

Most people have accepted the way the wind is blowing. It is no longer if we should integrate technology into the classroom but how we should do it. Do not just give the kids what they want, embrace it to create a modern active classroom. Contact us for more ideas and support for substitute teachers.

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