Why teachers have to use technology
Out of 43 who qualified as Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts in the Philippines, I was one of three chosen to represent the country at the recent Global E2-Educator Exchange in Budapest, Hungary.
The trip changed the course of my life as a teacher forever.
I will treasure what I learned in Budapest and share it with my co-educators, especially my fellow teachers at Punta Engaño High School, Lapu-
Lapu City Division.
Five years ago, the question on my mind was, “Why use technology in the classroom?”
The training I received from Coalition for Better Education and as a Microsoft Education Ambassador and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Philippines gave me these answers:
1. Technology is a way of life. It is everywhere in this computer age.
2. Students use technology improperly and unproductively. We must provide guidance.
3. Free educational tools are easier and faster to use than traditional tools.
At E2, we were introduced to new free educational Microsoft applications and tools that could help teachers accelerate the teaching and learning process in the classroom.
One of the highlighted applications was Skype in the Classroom, an add-in for the popular app Skype. Teachers and students could find classrooms from all over the country or the world and do activities such as virtual field trip, invite experts as guest speakers and mystery Skype.
Teachers could use this to build students’ collaborative, communication, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking skills.
Another interesting tool that fascinated me was Sway, a free Microsoft online presentation platform similar to Microsoft PowerPoint. But Sway was unique because it could be used and accessed anytime and anywhere.
It has predefined templates or built-in designs that are user-friendly and easy to share. It is useful in interactive reporting, story-telling, lesson planning or presentation, website layouting, catalogue and brochure making, journal writing, blogging, etc.
The one app that was warmly received by educators at E2 was OneNote in the Classroom or Class Notebook. It is a free add-in for OneNote desktop (2013 or 2016). It helps teachers organize their course content, create and deliver interactive lessons, and collaborate and provide feedback.
Everyone thought Minecraft in the Classroom was awesome. A game-based learning app, it transforms gamers into learners. Teachers know the devastating effect of computer games on students.
It is not just a computer game but can also be used to develop students’ reading, writing and problem-solving skills. It is expected to make learning engaging and absolutely fun.
Technology alone cannot develop in students the skills necessary to succeed in today’s world. Teachers and parents should teach and guide the young to use technology the right way productively.
For teachers who are afraid to integrate technology in the classroom, I have this to say: “You don’t need to become a computer expert to use technology in the classroom. You need willingness to innovate and time to explore every possibility presented at your doorstep. You have to remember that information and communication technology integration is not just the use of technology but its proper use in the classroom.”
To know more about the latest teaching-learning innovations, tips and tricks, join the Microsoft Educator Online Community (www.education.microsoft.com)
The writer teaches English at Punta Engaño High School in Lapu-Lapu City, Region VII, Central Visayas.
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