Are you a new teacher to Arnold, or to any other school district with a laptop initiative? If you are then you probably have a little bit of anxiety about how to get started in your classroom. You might be worried that:
  • the other teachers already know what they are doing
  • your lesson plans are not "tech" integrated yet
  • you aren't sure how to manage a tech classroom
  • you don't have the tech resources collected for your lessons

Start small... there is plenty of time, and you will never "get done." Keep in mind that teaching this way means you are constantly changing your plans and updating your resources. But it also means that you can make changes really easily. Begin by:

  1. Make a set of classroom rules that you can enforce and that fit your personality, teaching style, and needs. For examples, click here.
  2. Rearrange your classroom so you can observe your students. You have two choices when it comes to technology. Either you will use observational software to watch your students in class (Apple Remote Desktop or something similar) or you have to stand behind the students where you can see their screens.) Learn to teach from the back of the room and arrange the desks so you can see each screen in the room. Then the students will know this is serious study time, not time to surf and socialize on the Internet.
  3. Take baby steps. Begin by using a projector and showing your students a PowerPoint file that came with your textbook. Give students a worksheet you have typed already typed up last year so they can type in their answers. Have them scavenger hunt for information and then send you the document with web site addresses pasted in with the answers.
  4. Go digital one unit at a time. (Take a unit you want to spice up or that you don't enjoy teaching as much and add digital components to it.) Collect web sites as you do your lesson planning. Create bookmark folders in your Internet browser and then save links in those folders. Be sure to search for all types of sites (blogs, wikis, video, audio, web pages, simulations, etc.) and bookmark those. Learn to search effectively, and you will find that you can do new lesson plans in a very short amount of time.
  5. You don't have to create every lesson plan by yourself. There are millions of lesson plans posted by qualified and creative teachers that they have posted to the Internet for you to use in your classroom. You just need to find them. If you look at the link list on the left side of this site, there are links by subject areas, as well as Lesson Plan web sites. Look through some of those sites, use their search features to speed up the process, and begin by using some of those.
Traditional Lesson Plan Outlines
    1. Objective
    2. Materials Needed
    3. Preset
    4. Lecture
    5. Practice Time
    6. Homework Time
    7. Assessment or grading method

Technology Tweaked Lesson Plans
    1. Objectives and Outcomes of Lesson
    2. Links and Software Needed
    3. Preset: what will you learn during this lesson
    4. Introductory audio, video, or link
    5. Fasciliatation of Searching for information or examples
    6. Create the method of conveying what you have learned (a powerpoint, a web page, a picture book, poster, email message, essay, graphic organizer, etc.)
    7. Assessment or grading method
  1. Decide how you will get your files to your students. This might be with a teacher web page, a learning managment system (like Angel, blackboard, or Study Whiz), sending by email, a sharepoint on the server, or pushing a file to their desktops.
  2. Decide the assignments you want to give. Convert from your traditional assignment to a technology enriched assignment. (For sample ideas you may look at this TraditionalToTechnology.doc.)
  3. You don't have to create all the powerpoints for lessons. In fact, if you want the students to learn the material, you should have them make the lecture PowerPoints while they read the material. Then, when they are done with the assignment, you take the best file and save it for your "arsenal" of teaching materials for next year. (Maybe by next year, you can use the PowerPoint and the kids can create some other method of demonstrating what they have learned.)
  4. If you have a 50 minute class period for your lesson, and you are having students read and interact with web sites, plan for 10 minutes of distraction. (Technology problems can arise or a student may begin to read and follow extra links on a page when they find something of individualized interest.)
  5. Create your web site as you go. (I am connected to the projector, and the students can see me typing as we go, just like they used to see me writing on the chalkboard.) Students understand a "web site under construction." I actually make my web site pages as I am lecturing or introducing units to the kids. I type in the notes, the directions, and other elements as I go. Then the kids remind me to synch my laptop so they can see the page too when I am done with class. (Not when I am done with the page. I am never done. The kids don't care if it looks really great right away. They know I will come back to the page later and add more pictures, and "spruce it up" when I have a little more time. They really want to make sure that they get the notes/content...
  6. As you get more comfortable, you can look into using class blogs or threaded discussion boards to answer synthesis questions and share opinions. You could try creating a class wiki or google doc where students each contribute information to a collective document. (How to use wikis, blogs and forums in the classroom might be a place to start for ideas.)
  7. You then begin to add some really creative assignments involving the use of imovie for interpretation of ideas, creating photo books to demonstrate the steps of an experiment, creating graphic organizers in Inspiration, giving enhanced speeches with slide shows, creating posters and brochures in Photoshop or Pages, etc. (Some language arts example can be seen here.)