4th post in a new series: PLN Tips 4 Teachers and Goal 17: Integrate Technology Effectively of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” ~ Bill Gates
I have been integrating technology with students since 1997. I remember some of the first technologies I used with students were a TV/VCR, cassette recorders, cameras, polaroids, large video cameras, large desktop computers, microscopes, telescopes, the Internet, a transparency projector, and a video projector. Now I use iPads, mobile phones, iPods, digital cameras, and still the Internet. I was fortunate to start off my official teacher training at a hands-on science and history museum. We had access to some pretty cool tools like a green screen studio (kids could report the weather and be recorded like a professional), state of the art telescopes, and video microscopes. Lessons were taught in and around the museum so it was also one of the best learning environments. I remember being so new to teaching and still in college. My classes ranged from 10 to 50 depending on if it was a camp-in or summer long museum program. We had to develop the curriculum for those 3 months of classes each year and had the kids 8 hours a day. My director always reminded us to make it hands-on and related to the real world. The idea was to get students to see that history and science surrounded them. I still use a lot of this training now when I integrate technology. I believe the students should be moving around as much as possible and using the technology to discover the world around them. I also believe they should produce, create, problem-solve, and think critically with technology. I like to get them working in pairs or groups and also collaborating with their peers worldwide. Mostly, we also have fun! My motto has always been that if students leave my classroom thinking learning is fun then I have given them the desire to be continuous learners. In my opinion, too many schools make learning boring, tedious, and difficult for learners.
Maybe you’re new to integrating technology or just need a few pointers. I know that most teachers were not blessed with the technology training I received. I am posting a few tips to help you out this year that I found while reading posts from my Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN). I hope these tips help inspire you! And one of the best things I can recommend to help you successfully integrate technology, is to get connected. Begin to develop your on PLN by interacting with educators on Social Media.
A Few Tips
- Discover what tools your students currently use. Feel free to use my Google Student Survey as a guide.
- Familiarize yourself with the pedagogy and skills needed.
- Check the technology again right before the lesson. Try to check it at least 30 minutes prior to the lesson.
- When the technology doesn’t work try the following: shut it down, unplug it, reboot it, Google the problem, or ask students for help.
- Have students learn the tools, then train others.
- Have a backup plan that doesn’t involve technology. Checkout this post, 10 ways I Utilize a Computer with No Internet Connection in the Classroom.
- Choose the right tool for the job! Edshelf and Graphite are tool and app search engines for teachers and parents. They also include reviews by teachers.
- Get parents on board with these parent resources.
- Have fun with it! Check out this post on integrating humor in the classroom.
- Be a connected educator. Check out my Survival Tips for Building a PLN!
Click on any of the boxes in this PearlTree of bookmarks to explore!
If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!