Introducing technology in the classroom is no easy feat. From training, to adopting new methods of teaching, reporting and evaluating, it can sometimes feel like you are stepping into the lion’s den, but with a few simple steps, you can learn how to manage!
Here’s some tips to remember if you have decided technology is the route for you:
- Technology in the classroom can be time-consuming. Remember to start slow. There is no rush – technology is not going anywhere and is constantly improving! Develop your process and deepen your own understanding of the tools you would like to use. Play with them in your own time, even if it’s just 20 minutes of an evening. Create test classrooms, assignments and announcements. Chances are your students will pick up the technology quicker than you! Focus on yourself first and give yourself time to adapt and grow.
- There can sometimes be a lack of access to devices such as Ipads needed in the classroom for technology. After working with many teachers, we found they find it useful to devise a schedule for tablets and laptops. This helps plan who will use them at what times so that everyone gets their fair share. Some of our teachers have even applied for funding to get these devices into their schools!
- A lack of knowledge is a big hindrance for some teachers, because they feel incapable of implementing technology when they know so little about it. However, do not panic! Arrange training days, join online user groups, for example we have a Sharepoint User Group, watch YouTube videos (we have some to watch to start you off), learn from teachers who are already implementing technology in the classroom (social media is a great way to do this) and pick their brains! You could even have training days where the students get an opportunity to teach, because as mentioned previously, children can find it easier to adapt to technology quickly. This is a great way to get everyone involved.
- Managing the use of technology in schools is a completely new concept. Knowing how to incorporate it into the classroom can be confusing. Make sure you attend conferences like ISTE and network with people who have made some progress. Kara Dawson, a teacher at SD71 has made a fantastic blog on her technology journey – Kara’s Corner at Learn71. It has lots of tips and tricks to take a look at! You can also always share ideas through social media like Twitter. Searching hashtags such as #edtech and #teachers will help you find out what other districts are doing.
- Getting everybody on board can be very difficult – everyone has different perceptions about how learning should be handled. Make sure you create a shared vision. Don’t just see this as a personal endeavour, but a community creating the future for a large group of people. Have meetings, discuss your ideas with other staff members at lunch, create discussion groups if you have online portals, get excited about the possibilities! Be prepared that not everyone will share your views, and take the time to encourage them that technology really can be your best friend!
- The other bump in the road can be the change in the ways students are assessed. In the past, students have been trained to pass exams. With technology for classrooms, a more formative assessment process can finally take place, which is really great! Make sure you use online portfolios with rubrics attached to them to keep track of what you have been doing, and discover expression through digital tools like blogs (perfect for student reflection) and videos.
There are many different types of technology for classrooms! Before you choose which is best suited to your needs: look at the different options, talk to other teachers and form a plan of how you might use each tool in your classroom, for example what tools will you use for different ages or how much of your lesson time do you want spent using technology? There are many benefits of technology in schools and for many teachers, it makes their learning journeys that little bit easier to manage! Give it a try!
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