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Using Technology in the Elementary Classroom: The Do’s and Don’ts

Technology is everywhere, and teachers around the world are starting to embrace technology in the classroom. However, there are some do’s and don'ts to using technology in the elementary classroom. Using technology in the elementary classroom can be a great way to engage students. Plus, it can enhance their learning. But, it’s important to use technology responsibly and effectively in the elementary classroom. How do you do that? By checking out these do’s and don’ts for using technology in your elementary classroom. 

The Do’s

  • Supplement traditional teaching methods with technology 
  • Enhance student learning and engagement 
  • Create clear guidelines for students to follow 
  • Research and educate yourself on best practices for using technology in the elementary classroom 

The Don’ts 

  • Let technology be a distraction or a way to “keep kids busy”
  • Make technology a babysitter 
  • Forget to teach students about digital citizenship

Ignore potential risks of using technology 

The Do’s of Using Technology in the Elementary Classroom 

There are so many positives to using technology in the classroom. However, you want to make sure you are using technology in a positive way. Here are some helpful tips and resources for using technology in the elementary classroom. 

Supplementing Tradition Teaching with Technology in the Elementary Classroom 

You probably have (or are figuring out) your own teaching style. Just because technology is a big part of life now doesn’t mean you have to change that style. Instead, technology can and should be used to supplement what you are already doing in class. It’s important for students to get hands-on experience as well as digital experience. Letting students interact with manipulatives, games, and more can be just as beneficial as using technology. It’s all about creating a healthy balance of traditional methods and technology. 

Our Math and Literacy Centers for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade are a great resource for activities that are both digital and printable. With a bit of organizing, these centers can be a huge time saver for you. Plus, your students will love both forms of the activities available in these bundles. 

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Enhance Student Learning and Engagement 

Students can gain so much from working with technology. With technology, students can visualize concepts using digital math manipulatives or going on a virtual field trip. In addition, students can easily collaborate with their peers near and far. Plus, they can research several topics and get so much great information. Then, they can take what they have learned and turn it into a presentation about the topic they’re learning or what they researched. 

In addition to gaining more knowledge, students can get more practice with phonics using digital Boom Cards. This is a great way to differentiate instruction and help students who need more practice get just that quick and easy! 

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Create Clear Guidelines

The rules of technology in the elementary classroom are very similar to the rules of centers. You want them to follow the three C’s rule. That means your rules are clear, concise, and consistent. Before you start using technology to learn in your classroom, make sure students understand how to use whatever technology, websites, and apps you are using safely and responsibly. This includes respecting others’ privacy and not sharing personal information online. 

Know Better…Do Better 

When you are introducing technology into the classroom, it’s important that you are educated on the ins and outs of technology yourself. There are many ways you can incorporate technology into your classroom safely. However, you need to make sure you do the research to learn about these tools. By knowing what you can do to help keep students safe, you’ll have a more effective learning tool to use in your classroom. 

The Dont’s of Using Technology in the Elementary Classroom 

While technology is a great tool to use in the classroom, it can be easy to fall into the technology only trap. Here are a few things to watch out for when using technology in the elementary classroom. 

Don’t Allow Technology to Distract You

Technology is incredibly distracting for students. If you put them in front of a device, they are probably going to be engaged. However, this doesn’t mean you can disengage. Even when your students are focused on their tasks, you need to make sure you are moving around the room and engaging in student learning. You want to make sure you are asking questions, looking for struggling students, and offering praise to those who are doing well. 

Technology is Not a Babysitter

This should go without saying, but I know we all get busy and this is an easy fix. You never want to allow technology to babysit your students. You want to use technology in the elementary classroom as a tool, not as a substitute for good teaching. While you may have a ton to do, don’t let technology keep your students busy while you do other things. 

Digital Citizenship Training Is a Must

When you are going to have students working online, you need to make sure you adequately prepare them for that responsibility. Explicitly teaching students how to be a good digital citizen is not something you can neglect. When you are setting your guidelines, make sure you discuss how students can protect themselves online by not sharing personal information like their name, age, or address with strangers. 

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Be Ignorant to the Risks of Technology 

Technology is an amazing tool that can do so much for us! However, there are so many risks that come with it like cyberbully and exposure to inappropriate content. Make sure you have the safeguards you need on all of your devices to protect your students while they are using technology. 

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Using technology in the elementary classroom is a great way to enhance learning and engage students. However, a healthy balance of digital and hands-on work is necessary to help create a well-rounded education for students. By following these simple do’s and don’ts of technology use in the classroom, you can ensure that you’re using technology in a way that benefits your students and helps them thrive!

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