I love seeing technology used, especially if you have visual or hands on learners. It can boost their confidence and encourage students that may not participate otherwise to be engaged in learning.
Should their be an attempt to close the financial gaps in regards to technology in classrooms universally, even if the educators are unfamiliar with them? Or would that just lead to wasted tech? Having smartboards, an elmo and linked computers can work great if everyone uses them, but the same could be said about a VHS player and a few computers. This does leave students inexperienced with up to date tech, but if the teacher is not going to implement the technology very much (probably because they don't know how) then wouldn't they end up in the same boat?
I believe that using a Promethean ActivBoard and having a computer lab in the classroom are very effective ways to integrate technology. I am all about creating an environment that encourages students to learn. I feel like students are more incline to try and learn when a teacher is able to make assignments fun and exciting. Students like to be involved and with the Promethean ActivBoard there are many ways for that to happen.
There are many ways to use technology in the classroom. One way would be through current events. You could send your students to look up a current event article for your area. This would then aid them in the use of technology and keep them informed of what is happening around them.
One tool to consider if you're not tech-savvy, or if you have a tight budget, is Classcraft (www.classcraft.com). It's a browser-based role-playing game that teachers and students play together in the classroom, over any lesson plan or grade level, to foster engagement and teamwork. It's easy to learn, and all you need is a computer and a projector to get going!