I cannot believe how much technology has changed in my classroom since I began teaching 4th grade in 2004. However, even with the changes in technology in my classroom I now realize that I am only mostly doing things differently not doing different things (Laureate, 2010). Last year I bought the cables necessary to hook my computer up to my LCD projector, which also required moving my computer. Having my computer connected to the LCD projector has allowed me to do things differently. I have created PowerPoint presentations to go with many of my lessons. I also share online videos and research different topics with my class. The LCD projector has allowed me to do different things with technology-specifically the ease of students sharing their work with their peers. In the past the use of the white board or overhead projector required students to recreate their work for their peers or for me to make an overhead (at recess) of student work which often led to losing the teachable moment that had presented itself.
This year our school received a grant and we were able to purchase 15 laptops. Combining the laptops with our 10 library computers finally allowed me to have all students working on a computer at the same time. Because of this I now use a web program called “IXL” (www.ixl.com) to help my students with math. I have used IXL to plan targeted and specific math interventions for my students. IXL provides me the ability to have students work on specific skills directly related to our state standards. Before using this program my intervention looked very differently; often teaching a group of 10-15 students one skill (which they may or may not have all needed specific instruction in) while the other students did “busy work”. Students were extremely motivated and excited for the first several months of working on IXL. However, I have started to sense that students are getting bored with the program. This makes me realize that even with the use of technology I must keep things fresh and ever changing.
With programs like IXL I can truly see textbooks being rendered useless because this program allows students to work at their instructional level while meeting the state standards. Textbooks teach to the masses, meeting the needs of only some students while being far below or above the instructional level of others.