Essential Resources for Integrating Technology in the Classroom

Incorporating technology in your classroom has the potential to motivate a wired generation of students. However, beyond simply providing a way to engage the tech-savvy students in front of you, classroom technology at its best can improve and streamline assessment, enrich and enhance traditional classroom experiences, and help teachers to create individualized interventions for all types of learners at all levels of proficiency.

Though the advantages are clear, successfully integrating technology into the classroom can be a daunting task. Whether you’re trying to figure out where to get started with technology in your classroom, or how to become more adept at truly integrating it into your curriculum, these valuable web-based resources will help you enhance your acquisition and use of the kind of technology that will engage your students and take their learning to a whole new level.

General Educational Technology Resources

  • The Center for Implementing Technology in Education: offers a wealth of resources for implementing technology in the classroom. Specific sites for teachers and administrators will help you answer questions about improving classroom practice with evidence-based strategies, and also help you stay informed about legal and safety issues to be aware of when planning for technology integration in your classroom.
  • Discovery Education’s New Teacher Survival Guide – Technology in the Classroom: is a straightforward guide about why you should develop a 21st century classroom and how you can start using technology from day one.
  • Edutopia: Technology Integration: will answer many of your questions about technology in the classroom. This site from the George Lucas Educational Foundation will keep you up to date on what’s new in classroom technology, and give you the chance to learn from how other educators are using technology to enhance their instruction in the 21st century.
  • Free Technology for Teachers: is dedicated to providing teachers with free websites, online resources, activities, and lesson plans for teaching with technology. The “12 Essentials to Technology Integration” and “Beyond Google” documents linked here are a good starting point for teachers who have are just beginning to realize the potential of technology and venture beyond PowerPoint presentations and basic search engines.
  • Idaho State University’s Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education: provides valuable research-based articles on technology integration in the classroom, free of charge to users.
  • The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): is the predominant professional membership organization for teachers interested in making technology a classroom and curricular focus. Their website provides ready-to-use resources and information about upcoming regional, national, and web-based professional development opportunities in education.
  • National Educational Technology Standards (NETS): will help you evaluate how effective your current use of technology is in the classroom, and focus your future curricular development. In this era of standards-based teaching and learning, these resources can be an important touchstone for students, teachers, and administrators looking to develop classroom, building, and district technology initiatives.
  • The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory: has focused on technology integration in the classroom as a central issue in today’s schooling environment. Get started here with an article on using technology to improve student achievement, and learn how to integrate technology effectively to get measurable results.
  • Technology and Learning Online: is the leading publication on using technology to enhance the learning of young people in and out of the classroom, and many of its resources are available online without a subscription fee. If you’re looking for the latest on technology and learning, from articles and research to grants and equipment, this is site for you.
  • The Wired Classroom: explains what a wired classroom is and what it looks like operationally. This site answers your basic questions about computer integration, from classroom equipment needs and layout to effective instructional practices using computers.

Technology Initiatives and Grant Funding

  • Computers for Learning: helps teachers who have trouble getting adequate access to technology. This site could be the first step in combating limited computer availability in your school or district. CFL allows for the direct transfer of excess computers and related equipment from federal agencies to public schools. The registration and equipment request processes are simpler than many grant applications, so this may be a good place to start your search for more or updated equipment for your building.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology: offers information on the federal government’s technology initiatives. It also provides links at the top of the page to state-specific tech coordinators and plans, as well as federal grant programs to help bring much-needed technology to your school.
  • Formula for a Winning Proposal: specifically tailored to helping educators write technology grants for their classrooms and schools, this website provides clear, concise instructions about how to make sure your grant is a likely candidate for funding. Sample statements for major sections of grant proposals are also provided.
  • Grant Wrangler: stands out as the most comprehensive, free site for grant searching. While many sites provide partial lists of technology grants for teachers, Grant Wrangler allows you to search specifically for grants that meet your individual classroom needs. Specify “Technology” as your search category to begin learning about the sources for funding technology integration in your curriculum.
  • Writing Winning Grant Proposals for Technology: will walk you through the process of successful technology grant writing. If you’re interested in writing a grant to get more technology in your classroom or building, don’t miss this invaluable resource that also provides a list of potential funding sources for technology grants.

Equipment for Integrating Technology

  • 7 Things You Should Know About: is the place to start if you’re ever heard about a new technology you’d like to know more about. Educause Learning Initiative has compiled research on familiar and cutting edge technologies for the classroom and addresses each in terms of what it offers, how it works, who’s using it, why it’s significant, its potential downsides, where it’s going and its implications for teaching and learning. The site includes information briefs for both hardware and Web 2.0 tools.
  • 9 Insightful Videos About Using SMART Boards in the Classroom: provides clear instruction on how to set up and get started using SMART Boards. If you’ve never heard of them, or if you’re looking for information about what one can do for your classroom, this article and its accompanying videos should help. When it comes to SMART Boards, seeing these demonstrations may be the best way to realize their potential usefulness in your classroom.
  • Handheld Devices in the Classroom: covers the basics of handheld devices (personal digital assistants, GPS, portable electronic keyboards, and digital cameras, among others), as well as the many applications that have been developed for the classroom. Links to curriculum, grants, and application pages are provided at the end of the article from eduscapes.com.
  • Successfully Using Clickers in the Classroom: is a valuable article from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne that explains how clickers can enhance student engagement, and increase student participation. However, like all technology, they must be used deliberately if you hope to really enhance learning experiences. Best practices are incorporated into this guide for enriching assessment and instruction with student response systems, as well as some tips about what to avoid.

Web 2.0 Tools

  • 21st Century Information Fluency : is a great starting point if you’re new to using web-based interfaces. Blogging, social bookmarking, video and photo sharing, and wikis are all covered here, with helpful links to classroom friendly sites to help you get started.
  • Edu 2.0: provides a free hosted Learning Management System for educators that’s relatively simple to use and set up. If you’ve decided to move to a Learning Management System as an addition to or as a replacement for a class website, Edu 2.0 is something you won’t want to miss.
  • Google for Educators: showcases the many applications Google has developed to support technology integration in classrooms. Google is way more than just a search engine these days, so if you’re not already familiar with the many no- and low-cost applications available, this site will get you up to date.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): like Moodle and Blackboard are often a teacher’s next step in moving beyond a classroom website to something more dynamic. This article will help you evaluate whether moving to an LMS is right for your school or district.
  • Podcasts in the Classroom : demonstrates how to use archived audio and video recordings to enhance your instruction. Learn how to access existing educational podcasts and create your own.
  • Teach with Tech: contains a series of podcasts from Indiana University about teaching with Web 2.0 Technologies. Great for the auditory learner, these podcasts cover a wide range of topics for K-12 and higher education classroom.
  • The Classroom Web Page: a resource from Edutopia, explains how a classroom webpage can help streamline your instruction and make classroom processes more efficient and relevant to your students. It also contains helpful links to sites that will help you design and edit your web page, free of charge.
  • Using the Technology of Today in the Classroom Today: pushes beyond just integrating computers and electronic whiteboards in the classroom, and uncovers the educational potential behind digital gaming, simulations, and social networking. Published by MIT’s Education Arcade and complete with anecdotes from successful teachers in a variety of grade levels and teaching situations, this resource will help you think outside the box when integrating technology in your classroom.
  • Video Conferencing for Learning: provides answers to basic questions about how to get started, as well as more in depth questions about instruction, assessment, and evaluation with video conferencing. If you’re interested in connecting your students to schools within your district, or to schools and people on the other side of the world, check out this website on using video conferencing to effectively enhance instructional experiences.
  • WebQuest.org: supports contains teachers looking to incorporate technology into an inquiry-based classroom. This site offers everything you need to know about integrating WebQuests into your curriculum and has over 2,500 examples of ready-to-use WebQuests.

Lesson Plans

  • CyberSmart Curriculum: recognizes that enhancing curriculum through Web 2.0 tools requires that students be well informed about safely and securely using the internet to effectively accomplish their goals. CyberSmart is a well-developed K-12 curriculum aligned to the National Educational Technology Standards that can help your students become ready for rewarding and safe web experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Google Apps Lesson Plans: offers a collection of lesson plans to help you use Google Apps to integrate technology without adding extra costs. If your school or classroom has computers with internet access, check out the “Quick Start Guide” today.
  • SMART Board Lesson Plans: is designed to be a space where teachers can share their SMART Board Lessons and Resources. You can search by grade level or subject area and post your own lessons here as well.
  • Technology Enhanced Curriculum : contains a collection of lessons and units developed by teachers to integrate technology. It provides access to plans for every grade level and every subject area. Remember, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel when incorporating technology into your curriculum!
  • Resources for Teaching with Technology: is comprehensive site that’s easy to search by subject category. Find lessons here that will help you and your students use technology to enhance learning experiences.

Using Technology to Enhance the Learning of Special Needs Students

  • American Foundation for the Blind’s Assistive Technology: provides a wealth of information on advocating for technological accommodations for visually impaired and blind students. It includes not only assistive technology device suggestions and reviews, but also tips on making class websites accessible to blind and visually impaired students.
  • Assistive Technology for Kids with Specific Learning Disabilities: explains how to help accommodate students with specific learning disabilities in reading, writing, and math using technology in the general education classroom. This article gives strategies and links to concrete programs that can help your students work around their challenges and increase their rates of success.
  • Assistive Technology for the Classroom: covers the basics of assistive and adaptive technologies for students with disabilities. If you’re new to assistive technology, or interested in getting more information on specific technologies to help advocate or accommodate for your students with disabilities, this site will give you a jumping off point for your research.
  • Augmentative Communication Systems: are frequently used to help students with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ALS, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease communicate their needs. This site developed by Wright State University covers the basics of augmentative communication technologies, including a list of things to look for when evaluating whether or not a technology appropriately meets the needs of a student.
  • Creating a Virtual Learning Environment for Gifted and Talented Learners: details many ways in which technology can help accommodate the needs of your intellectually gifted students. Its focus is primarily on meeting the needs of gifted students in the general education classroom.
  • English Language Learners and Technology: is a good place to get a broad overview of the potential for successfully integrating technology into ELL and migrant students’ education. It includes information on best practices for integrating technology into linguistic and academic development for ELL students.
  • FM Systems for the Classroom: covers what you need to know about using frequency modulated systems to accommodate the needs of students with permanent or temporary hearing loss in the special or general education classroom. This website provides the basics for teachers new to FM technology, and is a great starting point for further research.
  • TechMatrix: is a nonprofit site focused on providing information to educators and parents about meeting the needs of students with disabilities through technology. An easy-to-navigate search tool helps you narrow product reviews to fit your needs.
  • Using Technology to Support the Needs of Diverse Learners: is a one-stop website for your questions about available technology and strategies for integrating technology to support English Language Learners and students with disabilities. For teachers and administrators looking to help support their colleagues in this area, the site also provides professional development materials.
  • Using Flexible Technology to Support Diverse Learners: provides a great overview of the role of technology in differentiating instruction and universal design. With a focus on best practices for all students, this document will help you begin making decisions about technology integration that not only engage, but really help individualize learning activities to meet the specific needs of a diverse classroom.

Ongoing Professional Development and Support

  • PBS Teachers Live: is archived collection of free webinars for teachers incorporating media and technology into their instruction. It’s published collaboratively by PBS and Classroom 2.0, and could provide the spark of an idea you need to get moving on your next technology integration project in the classroom.
  • Classroom 2.0: is a great resource if you’re looking to collaborate and problem-solve when using Web 2.0 technologies in your classroom. If you can’t seem to find the support in your district or building, you might consider joining Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for teachers incorporating Web 2.0 and social media in education. Both novices and experts are welcome.
  • Google Teacher Community : is a discussion forum where teachers can communicate with other educators about using Google’s educational applications and other innovative technologies in the classroom. Educators can ask their own questions and start their own discussions, or view archived questions and discussions about their topics of interest.
  • National Teacher Training Institute: Online Workshops: provide free online workshops about digital file management and managing students with computers in the classroom. If you’re familiar with technology, but looking for a bit more professional development on the topic, check out these workshops.
  • Technology Tutorials Online: offer nuts-and-bolts advice on how to use technology (including Web 2.0 tools) in the classroom. If what’s stopping you from using technology effectively is not lesson design, but rather figuring out the technology itself, these tutorials are a great place to get your questions answered.

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