Integrating technology is an important part of high school education today. While using tools like Smart Boards and computers in the classroom is a part of technology but to be effective, you need to go beyond enhanced presentations, online research, and the occasional YouTube history rap. eLearning needs to be interactive.
Know Your Tools
If your school already has an eLearning platform in place, then you should start there. While you may have done some training on using it, take the time to make sure that you know the ins and outs of setting up a classroom space and using the tools available effectively. You may want to collaborate with another teacher or your technology coordinator to help get you started.
If your school does not have tools already in place, then you will need to seek some out. There are many options that are available for free or for a small fee. Make sure you investigate the privacy aspects and get approval before you start using one. Work with your school system to identify the tools and platforms that will be best to use in your classroom.
Be Aware of Availability
Depending on your school system, not every student will have the latest technology at their fingertips. Some may not even have internet access at home. When you plan to use eLearning tools in your classroom, make sure that you are sensitive to your students’ situations. If students need to use the tools outside of class, then make sure they have options available such as libraries and computer labs. On the other hand, if your school provides students with equipment such as eReaders or laptops, then you should not hesitate to make use of those.
Teach the Tools
Before you start using an eLearning tool for the first time, plan to spend at least one class period teaching how to use it. This should be a hands-on training and integrated part of the project. Collaborate with your students. Some of them may already be familiar with the tools or may master them quickly. Have those students help teach others. As the project progresses, you may want to chooseone or two helpful students as assistants who may answer other students’ questions.
Making It Meaningful
Implementing an eLearning aspect to your classroom has to be meaningful. Ideally, it should teach skills and help with content mastery. Whether you set up an Animal Farm wiki that is built collaboratively by the class, have individual students create blog posts from the points of view of different historical figures, or have groups create interactive presentations that teach trigonometric identities, the process needs to combine content knowledge with technology skills.
Using eLearning tools in your classroom is more than simply plugging existing lesson plans into a slightly different format. You will have to do your homework and make sure that you are using the tools to their best advantage. Explore the new and different ways eLearning can help your class. Don’t be afraid of what your students have to teach you.