Creative Ways to Integrate Technology into Lesson Plans

Creative Ways to Integrate Technology into Lesson Plans

integrate technology into lesson planning

Sometimes it can feel difficult and frustrating to try to think about ways to integrate technology into lesson plans and every other aspect of school life.

Classroom life has certainly become more complicated than it was 50 years ago.  Back then, the beginning of a class could be as simple as telling the students what page to turn to in their books.  Or it could have been passing out the quiz or test they were taking.  In the 70's, technology consisted of overhead projectors, tape recorders, and the TI Graphing Calculator.

It is mind-boggling to see how much technology has changed since then.  And sometimes, it is just as mind-boggling to figure out how to best integrate it into the classroom.  On the one hand, you don't want too much--kids are already tech-saturated in all areas of life.  But on the other hand, you also don't want too little--it's a great way to acclimate your students to new and different forms of tech.  Learning it by watching it work in the classroom is such a natural way to learn.  So grab your cup of coffee and read on about some of the best creative ways to integrate technology into your lesson plans.

Online Lesson Planner

Of course, the first way to integrate technology into lesson plans needs to be online lesson planners!

This one is amazing!  It is called Planboard.  (Click on the name to see it!) First, it is 100% free.  And it will save you so much time.  You don't have to start with a blank chart for every day's lesson.  Instead, you just fill in the differences from the previous day.  No extra looking-up required!

You can access it anywhere.  Just sign into your account.  Additionally, you can align it with other curriculum sets.  Plus you can use it to manage your overall schedule.

The site also includes some great resources to help make your classroom management and lesson planning even stronger.

Take a look! The time spent looking into it will be more than made up by using it.

Google Earth

Every single lesson you teach can incorporate some location on the earth.  It can be the founder of an organization, a leader's home town or country, the source of an invention, a special event, where a math or science concept was experimented at, a famous location from a book.  The possibilities are endless.  But so are the locations on Google Earth.

Zooming in on your target can become such a fun activity with your students.  You can turn it into a guessing game.  You can also have the students show a place to other students based on research projects they have done.  It is an amazing tool that has yet to come close to reaching its potential in the classroom.

Adding this to your lesson planning routine helps the kids to see how their place in the world relates to all the other places in the world.  The more they see glimpses of this, the more they will understand how humanity works in tandem.

Video Shorts

Breaking up your lesson with a related video short that you produced in advance can shift your students' thinking. And it does a great job of getting them engaged again.

Sometimes we get so into what we are teaching that we stop thinking about how our "droning on" can cause even the most attentive students to zone out.  While we teach, we don't sound to ourselves like we are "droning on."  Inserting a short video can give us a chance to emphasize points we are planning to test on.  Plus you will find them wanting to dialog much more as the class focus changes just enough to make them sit up and pay attention.

The dialog could include eye-rolling over too-cool kids watching cheesy jokes or bad costumes.  Or it could illustrate an optical illusion that they couldn't quite wrap their mind around.  Of course, it could demonstrate just about anything that gets a response from them.

The key is the response, not the need to wow them every time.  The more you get them to engage, the more they will remember what was being discussed at that moment.

The video shorts don't always have to be produced by you either.  Just because you are saving time on lesson planning, you don't need to suck that up in trying to plan a bunch of other things.

Youtube houses almost limitless videos for you to draw from.  Some great ones are the National Geographic ones.  Just make sure you view all videos before you show them.  That way you will ensure that no unpleasant surprises happen.

Games

Back in the day Freddy Fish and Where in the World is Carmen San Deigo? stood at the top of the great video games pedestal.  I have to admit, I miss both of those games and sometimes wish I could pull them out for my current students.  I think that if I did I would be sorely disappointed upon seeing how much more advanced our technology is today.

Today, tons of options abound for any level and any time frame.  And that makes this idea one of the most fun ways to integrate technology into your lesson plans.  But they all have great educational bones under the fun game part.  It's kinda like hiding veggies in your kids' food and they have no idea.  They think they are playing games, but they are really learning some cool stuff.

Some Great Starting Points

Some great avenues for finding games are PBS Kids Games and National Geographic Kids Games.

I have used both of these and they are excellent, mostly for younger kids.  For elementary through junior high kids, I would recommend Classcraft.  You use this amazing game to turn your curriculum into game quests.  The kids love it and are totally into it!  Learning becomes easy because they are having fun and you aren't pulling teeth to get them to progress.  Warning:  your school days will fly by quickly when you integrate this program into them!  Time flies when you're having fun!

Classcraft gives you a choice between a free version and a paid version.  The free version contains more than enough material for your class to do well with.  You won't really feel like you are missing anything by not paying for it.  Unless you want to have all the things.  Then you can always upgrade.

One final thought regarding Classcraft, one of their taglines (they have tons of amazing taglines) reads:  "Games aren't at the heart of Classcraft.  Learning is."

Unlimited Online Resources

In today's technology world, information online is nearly limitless. For this reason, this idea remains one of the easiest ways to integrate technology into lesson plans.  You can quickly google anything at all to update whatever lesson plan you are working on.  And then you can implement it into your lesson just as easily.

Gone are the days of having to go to the library.  Once you get there, you had to research encyclopedias (which may or may not have been the latest edition), card catalogs, and microfiche to hopefully find something (anything) that you could use to beef up your lesson.

Now all of that is done already and nearly instantly online.  You can search online and have your information in seconds.  If you have to wait longer than 5 seconds, you can move on to the next website which is probably even faster.  (We have definitely developed a patience problem in modern society!)

Because so little time is involved in researching, our lesson plans bear the potential to become amazing lessons with our students.

Even more so, many times our students have already learned about some aspects of what we are teaching based on their own experiences with technology.  And when they can bring what they have learned to the classroom to share with what you are teaching, it becomes such a rewarding experience for the whole class.

Closed Captioning

This ties in closely with the video ideas.  But the big difference is that it is a great addition for those students whose learning strength is reading.  It adds a whole new dimension for them to retain the information they are taking in.  It adds a super helpful element for those students that may not have heard everything. And they can easily see what is being said.

Finally, it makes a great option for keeping kids engaged that may have been having issues with their mind wandering.  A lot of people will almost subconsciously read along with the video.  This allows them to get double exposure to the material being presented.

Conclusion

So there you have it:  seven creative ways to integrate technology into lesson planning.  This list is not a complete list by any means.  And generally speaking, more technological people are going to think of so many more great ways to integrate tech into their classrooms.

And when that happens, the internet will be there to document it for us so that we can implement it into our classrooms!

For more on technology in the classroom, check out these two articles:

How to Take Advantage of Tech in the Classroom

How to Take Advantage of Tech in the Classroom II

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Nyxinked

    Definitely a good idea to incorporate technology. How amazing is it that we can hop onto Google Earth and visit any city we want!?

  2. This is awesome, it’s amazing how much good technology can do. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

  3. Amber Myers

    I love these ideas. I know my kids always like when they can watch a video in class. They also enjoy Google Earth. I do as well!

  4. Cristina Petrini

    I would say a really nice idea to integrate technology to create something like that!

  5. Christine Aha

    Love Google Earth! My teachers used it in college and it gives so much more perspective than regular maps.

    1. Marie

      It’s so fun! I could never have dreamed of such wonderful technology when I was a kid.

  6. Candace

    It really is amazing how much technology has advanced even since I was in school. That said, one thing that hasn’t changed is how difficult it is for students to stay engaged in the classroom. I think that using videos to break up your lessons is a great plan! It gives the students a moment to relax and change focus before returning to the task at hand.

    1. Marie

      Yes, it’s kind of like a fresh start for them. They are able to regroup much better after a short break. And when that break can be enjoyable and educational at the same time, it’s perfect! Thanks for your support!

  7. Cristina Pop

    Google Earth is the best! I sometimes like to just go and visit some countries or cities 🙂

    1. Marie

      I agree, Cristina! It is so fun! We will pick a landmark and see how long it takes to find it from the beginning. Doing that is so much more educational and fun than showing them on a map! (Even though it takes a bit more time, but the lesson stays with them for so much longer!)

  8. Joanna

    Google Earth is perfect for those what used to be boring geography lessons. I wish that when I was in school lessons were more interactive and not just “open the book and turn the page”.

    1. Marie

      Seriously, Joanna, it has made geography (and any other subject that you bring up any landmark or location) a whole new world!! Everybody loves it!

  9. F-P

    Great ideas to keep your lessons interactive, that way you can keep attention level high.

  10. Philomath

    I think it made teaching easier with the new technology. That’s amazing how it can help with lessons and everything.

    1. Marie

      You are right, Philomath. It has made a lot of aspects of teaching easier. It is a good time to be a teacher with so much online support.

  11. Technology has truly revolutionized the education space. It was so interesting for me to read your article as I am a business journalist and write a lot about the new trends in Edtech sector.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Sudipta. It is really awesome to see all of these things play out in the classroom. And a lot of the concepts work in the home as well. It is good to hear from someone who works as a journalist in the education field!

  12. Susan1375

    One of my conveyancing law lecturers used google earth to explain points of law to us, made it more interesting.

  13. Kiwi

    I love how technology is making it easier to learn. i think Google Earth is something else!!

  14. GiGi Eats

    I think Google Earth is the coolest thing ever. In fact, I am going to go hit it up right now! haha!

  15. Brianne

    I think it’s great that you’re showcasing how teachers can successfully use technology to their advantage. It’s almost silly not to take advantage of what’s out there.

  16. Kathleen Cregg

    I LOVE technology and use it for almost everything! I learn so much with podcasts, classes, webinars, and there are so many great teaching tools out there that you have pointed out!

  17. Marysa

    These are all great tools when it comes to lessons. Plus, with so much teaching going virtual, it makes sense to know about these.

  18. chad

    These are amazing resources, wow!!! There is so much that can be done to make the learning experience a lot more engaging, amazing…

  19. Oh I think that is a really nice idea to integrate technology and create something that might be cool for different audience. Good. – Paolo

  20. Renata Feyen

    That’s true technology never stands still so there will always be something new you can add to the list 🙂

  21. Steven Morrissette

    Hey my son is addicted to google earth he is six years old and he loves volcano so now he can pinpoint on the globe where the biggest volcanos are located I am so amazed how technology can improve learning.

  22. the joyous living

    good ideas and suggestions. i think the closed caption should be available everywhere for those who can’t hear too well.

  23. Monidipa

    Great tips. If a student feels welcomed by their peers when they walk into a classroom, they will be more motivated to socially engage with their peers, complete tasks, and contribute to the classroom. Integration helps mainstream students learn about tolerance, acceptance, and teamwork amidst differing ability levels.

  24. tweenselmom

    Technology does do a lot of great things and these ways will surely help teachers use it for their benefit of teaching, thanks for sharing these with us!

  25. A lot of parents are averse to technology. I think it’s very important to incorporate it in our children’s learning. It is their future.

  26. Emman Damian

    I think being digital now helps. If we employ technology with lesson plans, it lessens errors in teaching.

  27. blair villanueva

    Thanks for sharing this information. This will be very helpful for many teachers that are now switched to WFH.

  28. joanna

    We live in a world where technology is everywhere, and it is normal for students to be allowed to use it in order ti help their learning process.

  29. SHADRACK BIWOT

    these are really amazing ideas. we live in a place where technology is everywhere

  30. Hannah

    These are really great ideas and I totally loved games like Freddy fish to help me with my learning!

  31. WorldInEyes

    Technology is truly getting better day by days and no doubt in this…well great ideas and ways..they are very helpful and useful indeed…Glad you shared these with us..great work though…

  32. rachel

    I never would have thought to use these! Thanks!

  33. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    I hope that a lot of teachers get to read this so they can incorporate this in their teachings.

  34. Lily

    Great ideas for addding tech in the classroom. I love close caption option!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.