Top 8 ideas for using technology with low IT literacy level students in a non-IT classroom

Teachers are role models and lead by example. As teachers we have an incredible power when it comes to promoting things. We should show up-to-date materials as well as introduce state-of-the-art ideas and items that are relevant, useful and encouraging. Teaching adult students made me realise that quite a lot of them lack basic IT skills and I believe that empowering learners to use technology in class can only be beneficial. This promotes independent learning and teamwork in a classroom and beyond.

  1. Hardware – ask students to type up things displayed on the board or use a wireless keyboard, plan short and brisk tasks only as only one student is involved so others may get disengaged – and this is not what you really want, is it?
  2. Google for facts, information and images – this requires your time to plan ahead but it is really worth it! It lets you make content relevant and you make sure everybody takes part, as most of the students have their mobile phones connected to the internet (check for free college Wi-Fi).
  3. Cambridge Dictionary online and Google translator – the latter one is not always reliable (and low-level students may require teacher’s support), but it’s great for checking pronunciation.
  4. Kahoot for interactive games and assessment. Again, it requires your time to plan ahead, but you have all students involved.
  5. Camera for taking pictures – never enough writing and spelling practice but when time comes to play – simply ask your students to take photos of notes on the board and you lead by example! Remember that for taking photos of students you need consent forms signed.
  6. Google calendar / diary for self-study – ask your students to write important dates such as tests, exams or homework submissions. Try to use relevant phrases for most of the time so they get used to “Let me put it in my diary”-type phrases.
  7. Applications for specific practice, eg. spelling or listening – there are a lot of podcasts etc., available (mostly for free) at GooglePlay or AppleStore.
  8. Day-to-day communication – text your students quick interesting links, email them reminders or additional notes to look at. You may also want to try and ask students to email you some tasks back.

The resources are available at your hand! Simply ask your students to get out their mobile phones. 🙂

However, it is important that the students understand why they can use devices while learning so set clear rules from the very beginning to avoid situations when gadgets are used in an appropriate way and hinder learning.

We can never rely on technology, can we? Consider alternative ways of doing planned tasks when the projector’s battery goes flat or the internet is down. In addition to that, know basic troubleshooting – if possible, have some spare pads, printed handouts or Wi-Fi login and password at hand.