While technology is definitely added instruction for any classroom, there are some things we have to remember when incorporating technology in the classroom.
Objectives: As with any instructional lesson, it is important to have a clear objective that adds technology as a manner of completing the assignment - and not the assignment itself. The technology is simply an added component which gives students greater flexibility and choice in learning the same material. The end result is not that students master using the technology, but that they learn the same material though a different medium.
For example, objectives I have used in the past contain the technology as an outlet to understanding the Language Arts content:
TLW analyze the poem "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" BY identifying and explaining poetic elements using a Google Presentation.
TLW compare and contrast a narrative and a poem BY identifying and explaining similarities and differences across genre using an online poster.
Accountability: Students MUST still be held accountable for completing work online, otherwise it becomes an "activity" as opposed to a lesson or content based assignment. Students will get so focused on the ins and outs of the web-based tools that they need to remember to walk away with the key take-away from what they learned throughout the lesson.
The SBISD Interactive Database has a lot of great resources for apps and links that I could incorporate in my classroom - especially with small groups. They would allow the students to see the material in different ways, to reinforce learning. Some of the flipcharts and different websites are great for additional materials for students.
I also use the BrainPop website in my classroom. It has several videos and resources for introducing material to the students before taking it to a higher level and deeper-thinking questions. The students really liked the video that introduced identifying "theme" in different texts. The web site also has great resources for writing and grammar that I can use in small groups as well.
The classroom iPads are great tools for my students. My ELL students use the iPads to quickly access an online dictionary when they need to translate as we read through texts on our own.
The ShowMe app is great for me to quickly re-teach lessons on an online whiteboard and record my voice. I have used this for small groups and the students can just re-watch the video.
I have found a Poetry App created by the Poetry Foundation which allows me to find poems based on different themes, which gives the students greater access to a variety of different poems.
The Animoto and Flixtime apps also look great for creating we-based videos for student projects.
There is also an app that allows the teacher to access and maneuver the ActivBoard while using a stylus on the iPad from anywhere in the classroom. There are randomization apps for randomizing and rotating students to call on in class discussions or checks for understanding.
The flexibility of the iPad allows for greater access to materials and quick completion of assignments.
I am going to continue looking for new apps to incorporate in my classroom because they are beneficial to both me and the students.