By Guest Blogger Jessica Sanders, Director of Social Outreach, Learn2Earn
EdTech implementation: the phrase alone makes the process of bringing technology into your classroom sound daunting and stressful. Luckily, what you see isn’t always what you get, and this process can be smooth and stress-free if you look at the big picture, take your time, and remember to be flexible.
Use these three simple tips to take the nerves out of making your classroom future ready.
- Look at the Bigger Picture
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates
It’s important to remember that technology will merely facilitate to your big-picture plan in a way that engages your students and gets them excited about learning. Tools need to supplement your lessons, not the other way around.
Before choosing any tools, answer these questions:
- What aspects of your curriculum would benefit most from the addition of technology?
- What are your year-long goals for these students? How does technology fit with those goals?
- What are Common Core implementation issues that could be solved with technology for you?
Other technical questions to ask yourself:
- What equipment do I have access to? A computer lab, iPads for all the students?
- Is there Wi-Fi access in the school? Is it reliable?
- Will my students be able to access these tools at home or just in the classroom?
- Take Your Time
After answering the previous questions you can start your research. Begin browsing apps by genre (Math, Reading), pricing (free, fee-based) or style (gamified, image-focused). You can also browse lists. A few good ones are:
Once you’ve chosen a few tools to pursue, it’s time to experiment. Spend time learning how it works, and consider how your students will use it in the classroom.
- Will it take them a long time to learn?
- Will I have to spend a lot of extra time managing it?
- Will it make me more efficient?
You may love every tool you test—but that doesn’t mean you need to bring them into the classroom all at once. In fact, this may be stressful for you and your students. Choose just one to start with, and once you and your students have mastered that tool, consider adding a new one to your roster.
- Be Flexible
The first few days, even weeks, of using a new tool can be trying. You and your students are getting to know how it works, deciding where it fits in the context of everything else you’re trying to accomplish, and more. During this period, you need to be flexible with time, patience and students. Remember:
Something will go wrong: Sometimes, even the smallest mishap can throw you off. Prepare for this by considering all the things that might not work—students aren’t interested, some students aren’t successful with the tool, it stops working, your Wi-Fi is down—and have a backup plan.
Students might know better than you: Your students have been raised with technology, and know the ins and outs of many programs. Accept their advice if you’re unsure about something; this may be a time when you can learn from them—a moment that empowers them to be leaders.
Bringing new tools into the classroom doesn’t need to be an arduous or stressful task. These tools can make your students more engaged and you more efficient, if you take your time considering what works and what doesn’t.
Look at the bigger picture, test the tools you like, and don’t forget to be patient: anything new takes time to understand and manage, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll see the time was worth the outcome.
Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn, an online fundraising platform that allows students to raise money by reading books. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.