Empowering Students with Technology

Instructor: Derek Hughes
As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, teachers have new ways to empower student learning. This lesson will explain how technology can be used to empower students.

Technological Empowerment

In modern education, there is a focus on helping students take control of their learning and become responsible for their education. The trend towards empowering students, or helping them take ownership of learning and be excited by their education, has been facilitated by an increasing access to technology. This lesson will show how technology can help empower students by allowing you to follow a student through his school day.

Marco's School Day

Marco is a fourth grade student at ABC Elementary. When he began school, Marco struggled to adapt to the classroom and was often bored and unenthused about learning. However, these attitudes changed this year when Marco was moved to a classroom with a teacher who utilizes technology to excite her students. It's made a world of difference to Marco.

Marco starts his day at home by checking a classroom website when he wakes up. This website is updated every morning and afternoon by the teacher to give students important information about their day. Marco knows he is expected to check this website every day for important announcements before coming to school. In some cases, the classroom website will have information about assemblies or other interruptions in the daily schedule. Today, however, Marco sees that the day will proceed as usual. He knows what his day is going to look like and is able to go into school ready to learn and work.

Personal Responsibility

The first thing Marco and his classmates must do as they enter the classroom is sign in on the classroom computer by simply typing their names into a spreadsheet. This is Marco's teacher's way of taking roll. This way, each student is responsible for his or her own attendance record. During the first few days of school, the teacher had the students sign in and took traditional roll by calling names. However, now the teacher leaves it to the students to sign in and make sure they are marked present.

Marco's morning proceeds normally as his teacher checks homework and teaches several lessons. At 10:30, Marco knows it is time for the class to use laptops to complete various tasks. Without any prompting from the teacher, several students begin handing out the laptops. When Marco gets his laptop, he gets right to work. He sees on his schedule (which is shared with students each week through email) that today he is to work on his research project about the Civil War. Marco spends the next period researching and compiling sources for his presentation he will have to create. While Marco was working on his research, other students may have been on a reading website or completing worksheets in a word processing program. By giving students a weekly schedule, Marco's teacher has given them the responsibility of doing their own work.

Engaging Through Technology

The students go to lunch while Marco's teacher updates the classroom website with tonight's homework. When the students return from lunch, Marco's teacher teaches some lessons using the classroom Promethean Board, or an interactive whiteboard that has the power of a computer to project images, responds to touchscreen activity, and displays video with sound. The Promethean Board is Marco's favorite piece of technology in the classroom. He loves interacting with the information on the touchscreen projector.

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