These 6 reasons to use digital resources in the classroom prove that a healthy blend of digital and physical resources in the classroom is key to good classroom management, helping reduce waste, and keeping kids engaged.
We live in a digital world, and I am a digital girl…
I know that isn’t how the song goes, but let’s be honest, it’s true.
Digital resources have been a staple of my classroom and instruction for a long time. I love a good flipbook or board game, but if there is a digital version, I have to have it because digital resources make my life a lot easier. In fact, I have 6 main reasons to use digital resources in my classroom.
1| Less waste and copies
With all the talk of global warming and taking care of our earth, I am more aware than ever how much waste I am putting out into the world, and despite my best intentions, if I’m making copies, I always seem to have more waste than necessary. That is why one of my first reasons to use digital resources in the classroom is to reduce waste.
I know I’m not the only teacher who feels this way, so I’m just going to say it…making copies is hard!
It seems like no matter how hard I try, I always screw something up. Whether I end up messing up the front/back printing option or I get several sheets jammed in the machine resulting in a recycling bin of wrinkled, crinkled misprints, my relationship with the printer and copier is one that can only be resolved with counseling.
Digital reduces waste because it reduces printing, which saves me (and the school) time and money!
2| Little to no prep
Time is a valuable resource, and when I am planning for a unit, I am looking to have a blend of activities that include a little prep and a few that have no prep at all.
Let’s consider a math block with a combination of small group instruction and centers (which I told you all about in this post).
I need to be able to focus my time on individual and small group instruction, so the centers that are taking place in the background need to be able to run on their own.
3| Preparing kids for a digital world
All over the world, people are working on a computer right now. Our students are growing up in a digital world, and we need them to be prepared for that.
We can’t prepare them for all the ways they will be expected to use a computer in the future, but we can show them interesting ways technology can be used, help them gain confidence navigating a computer, and give them opportunities to practice using technology in a safe environment as a learning tool rather than just for entertainment.
4| Digital activities allow for interactivity and integration that appeal to different types of learners
There is nothing quite as awesome as the feel of a physical book in your hand, but unfortunately, a book lacks the integration and interactivity of a digital resource.
One of the elements of digital resources that I love most is the ability to link to and embed other resources within activities. With just a click of a mouse or a push of a button, students can follow the links in the resources to learn more about the topics they are interested in, and they can watch embedded videos that appeal to different styles of learners
5| Faster/Smoother transitions between activities
A good teacher knows that one of the secrets to good classroom management is having a plan for transitioning between activities.
Short attention spans of young kids mean that our days as teachers are all about quick shifts from one activity to another.
Another reason to use digital resources is to make those transitions easier. With digital activities, ‘clean up’ is usually only as hard as closing the computer or stacking up the iPads.
We can also use our learning management systems (like Google Classroom) to quickly get resources out to students to begin working while we are cleaning up other hands-on activities.
We only get a set number of instructional minutes with our students, and if, with one click of a button, I can get them working on a Close Read with Mystery Pictures while I work on putting away the craft supplies from creating our flipbooks, I can really feel like we are using our time well.
6| Immediate feedback
Last but certainly not least, one of the greatest reasons to use digital resources and activities in the classroom is feedback.
All of the digital resources I use allow students to get immediate feedback on their work, which gives them more opportunities to practice. Gone are the days when students wait quietly with their hands raised to get their work checked by the teacher. Now, when students need to know if they’re on the right track, they can press the submit button or check the available answer sheet.
Teachers can’t be everywhere, and when we are working with students in small groups or working with an individual on a skill, we need to know that the other students in the room are getting the support they need to keep moving forward in their learning. Digital activities like these sticker activities that allow students immediate feedback will give students what they move to continue growing in their learning.
A healthy mix of both
Whether you love digital activities or hate them, there is no question that they bring value to the classroom, and since 2020 required schools to pick up on the technology integration so more students could learn from a distance, many of us finally have the technical tools necessary to use digital activities daily in our classrooms (whether our students are in the physical space or learning from the safety of their homes).
If you are looking for a good, healthy mix of hands-on and digital resources that work well together, check out our store. We have several resources that cover a variety of units typically taught in upper elementary, and the hands-on and digital resources complement each other nicely to create a well-rounded school day!