When it comes to technology in the classroom, how hopeful is it? Do you use technology in your room? If you do, what kind of technology do you use? Do you think it is beneficial for the students or no?

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We have a 1-1 laptop program in our high school which started this academic year.  I use google docs and spreadsheets as collaboration tools, websites such as HeyMath and Tenmarks for practice and learning, as well as Geogebra and Graphing calculators as exploration tools.

Students produce assignments using geogebra and logger pro.

I have an e-beam interactive whiteboard and docs can be shared for the whole class so we can build the notes examples of the lesson collaboratively.

I generally think it is the way things are going so am happy to be part of this initiatiave, but there is a downside.  Kids do get off task more readily than in a traditional classroom environment.  This is my biggest concern and something I continue to struggle with.

Wow! It seems like you have a lot of stuff to work with, things that I have never heard of! It's going to be interesting looking into all of these different things you've mentioned! Thank you so much!
E-beam is a poor man's Smartboard; Tenmarks is a free interactive practice site that sends results to the teacher.  Most of the sites and apps I mentioned are mathematics tools, as I am a high school mathematics teacher, so that may be why you have not heard of them.
I am a college student so I am not working in a classroom but I have done many observations in classrooms where technology is used and I feel that it can be very helpful but it can also be a distraction for some students.  I was helping a middle school English class where they were doing a research project on the computer which was a great assignment, but when it came to the research there were many distractions.  The teacher had given many instructions and guidelines to the students, but she did not give them specific websites to use for their research.  I feel that for younger students the teacher needs to give them specific research websites because if not, they will spend so much of their time looking at tons of different sites which can get them off task so easily.  So again, I do think that technology is a great thing, but assignments need to be designed to fit the needs and requirements of the students.
I read Elizabeth's reply and I thought I should mention Wiggio.org as a place to share files, have discussions, set assignments, keep class calendars, etc. 
Also a great way to keep middle school students on track is to use careful team assignment for students. I use a personality test at the beginning of the year to find out about my students. It helps me pick who should be assigned together. 
There are a ton of tech tools out there and the key to keeping students on track (in my opinion) is not so much picking which site to use as much as carefully narrowing the assignment so you get the right kind if research. Of course I'm a history teacher, so this might not apply as directly to math.

I am currently a student studying to be a teacher and I find that using technology in and outside of the classroom is very helpful to my learning. One of the technologies that we have used for my Ed Tech class is called VoiceThread.  VoiceThread allows to to post videos of virtually anything.  Also, we have the ability to verbally comment on other posts. This is a good way to have classroom discussions. 

Voicethread is such a fun tool to use! It immediately adds a new element to any presentation!! Great example! It also helps if students are absent... you can email or post the lectures online.

I am a junior in college majoring in elementary education and taking an educational technology class.  I have found that technology is necessary for classrooms.  Students are living in a world with so much technology and they use it for everything. I think that using current technology in the classroom can help students learn to use it in beneficial ways.  It also prepares them for the world they will be living in.

I am a college student, so I do not have any experience in the actual classroom. However, I have learned a lot about different websites that I really enjoy and may be helpful. I really like VoiceThread, which gives students the opportunity to explain things that they post by recording their voice along with a picture. Prezi gives you the opportunity to make presentations more interesting. These are just a few that I have enjoyed!

I am an ESL teacher in Bangkok, Thailand, and currently teach grades 5 and 6 self-contained Language Arts. Technology has an important role in this classroom. Even though we do not have laptop/iPad carts available for students, I use the lab every time I find an empty spot, and my students have been introduced to Google products, as well as presentation-making tools like Powtoon, or screencasting tools such as Jing and Screenr. Some students carry their own iPads and have recently discovered the Kindle app, now a big hit among them. A recurrent HW assignment is for them to use Quizlet at home and create flashcards out of the new words we learn every week. They can then go back to study for quizzes using the games made from their words.

I agree with Lauren Lennard when it comes to specifying everything, especially websites to be browsed, to avoid unpleasant surprises. Students need exact directions. Offering too much flexibility is not a great idea either. It causes students to get easily confused and off task. 

Personally, I find that revision -- through collaboration on Google Docs -- and media creation has never been so effective! One thing that needs to be said, though, is that technology works as a tool. A lesson needs to have learning goals and standards to be met. Technology will only assist (albeit enormously) in the process! The TPACK framework might be useful for your tech integration introduction.  

Jing and Screenr are such great tools! I have gotten to work with them over the course of this semester. It is so much more engaging to use these tools!

I agree, Kayla! My students have started using them for other classes' presentation assignments now, which makes me so proud!

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