In the past, classrooms often had a designated “computer area” because the technology needed to be placed in close proximity to outlets and cables. Now, technology takes on many different forms. Some classrooms have traditional set-ups, some have carts of laptops or tablets that travel between rooms, and others have one to one programs. This ever-changing technology-centered we live in leaves us wondering: Do I need a dedicated technology area? What safety precautions should I be taking? How should I organize my technology? Answers to all of these questions and more can be found below.
Technology changes at a rapid rate. In order to keep this resource timely, I have created a Pinterest board to showcase ways to organize tablets and other technology equipment. It can be accessed by visiting:
Clutter-Free Classroom’s Technology Pinterest Board.
This blog post will…
- offer answers to the 3 most common questions about technology use in the elementary classroom
- suggest ideas to consider when you are setting up a technology area
- recommend technology tips for your classroom.
Questions to ask yourself:
Question 1: Do I need a dedicated technology area?
While you may not need to set aside a large area, you should take internet safety into consideration. Try to avoid having students working online in positions that prohibit you from viewing their screens. Although there are typically restrictions put in place by the district, there are times when students may still land on a site that is not appropriate. Every possible effort should be made to ensure students screens are never hidden from view.
Question 2: What safety precautions should I be taking?
Take care not to overload electrical outlets with too many devices. Avoid using power strips. These are fire hazards. Be sure to know your school districts policies in regards to technology.
Question 3: How should I organize my technology?
There are still many classrooms that are very limited on technology. Some teachers have 1 computer and others may need to take their class to a computer lab or tech center. In order to set up a technology center in your room, you’ll need to assess what is available to you. If the tech access in your school feels limited these tips may help:
What to Do if you only have one classroom computer:
Decide how you would like to use it. Some options include using it as a teacher tool, allowing students to access it as a learning center or utilizing it as a small group presentation area. I’ve done this and have had the students view the monitor for lessons.
What to Do if you have several classroom computers:
Consider if you want them to be clustered together or spread apart around the room. Initially, I always kept mine together because it seemed like the thing to do. However, it was hard to manage the noise level. Also, it was too crowded if I had more than one student working on a computer as I often do for interactive games. This year I spread them out around the room and was very happy with that decision.
Things to consider when setting up a technology center in the classroom:
- location of electrical outlets
- location of internet connections
- ability for kids to access usb ports
- height of the computers (eye level for the monitor, keyboard easy to access)
- glare from lights and windows
- space around the computer for paper/clipboards to complete activities
- comfortable seating
- avoid having the screens facing student work areas in a way that will distract other students
- keep cords out of walking paths
- do not place cords under rugs as the friction can be a fire hazard
- use cable ties to keep cords neat
Technology Organization Tips for Elementary Teachers
- A color-coded keyboard will help little fingers remember the important keys.
- Use bread ties to label the top and bottom of cords to keep them all organized.
- Post expectations for technology use near the technology so you and the students can reference it throughout the school year.