Keeping up in a digital world is not easy when there is an overwhelming number of technology tools. In talking to teachers who seem to be resistant to incorporating technology, I’ve found it is not necessarily access to technology or technology itself that is the issue. The main frustration educators have is technology overload. There are an overwhelming amount of technology tools available, making it difficult to know where to start.
At the beginning. Find one tool you would like to try and dive right in. Get to know that tool well, the benefits and drawbacks of using it in your classroom. Use your students as co-teachers and co-learners. I often find I am learning new ways to use tools from my students. The first step is always the hardest, but once you immerse yourself in learning with your chosen tech tool, it will get easier. You will find tips, tricks, and shortcuts that will benefit your individual class. You may try, and you may fumble, but eventually, you will discover whether the tool is a right fit or not. If not, you now have an idea of what you do not want in a tech tool. Some of the best learning experiences happen when you are immersed and co-learning with students.
As a teacher, we can be our worst critics and sometimes a bit hypocritical. We often tell students just give it a try? You can learn how! Do we take our advice; not always. It is not about how to start with technology; it is starting where you know how and building a foundation for future technology integration. How do we find what works for us and leave behind the fear? We enlist our students and make it fun! Why not put it out there, teachers are no longer the all-knowing vessel of knowledge at the front of the class; we are learners too. Ask students what they enjoy in tech tools, perhaps this will be your starting point.
It’s as Easy as 1,2,3
My kindergarten students love using anything technology based. They see their older siblings and parents using devices and want to learn how to use these devices too. Our school is fortunate enough to have Dash and Dot Bots along with iPads. My teaching partner and I proposed that our students teach us how to use them. We presented the problem to our kindergarten class: “Mrs. Bishop and Mrs. deCastro want to learn how to use the Dash and Dot Bots, but don’t know how. We need you to teach us! Where can we get our information? Who can help us? How will you teach us?” And there you have it, tech in the curriculum, collaborative learning, problem-solving, math skills, language skills, science, the whole curriculum wrapped up in our students teaching us how to use technology! And of course, a great Teacher Librarian to support learning!
I’m Too Old for This!
I do hear this often believe it or not! Teaching with worksheets is a thing of the past. So why not break the pattern? There is nothing enjoyable about learning or teaching in a disengaged classroom. Learn from your students, with your students, and be present. Get to know what the world is like for them. Make the environment engaging, you’re not too old, in fact, you are a wealth of knowledge and have seen many changes in education. Keep moving with it; our students aren’t going to stand still, technology is moving forward, and we need to work with it, not against it.
There is no substitute for good pedagogy. It is key that we move towards seamless technology integration supported by sound instruction. When integrating technology into your curriculum and instruction, choose one tech tool at a time and do it well. Scaffold your learning; this will make it less overwhelming, and you may even learn a thing or two along the way!
Still Not Convinced?
For inspiration, check out these teachers using technology on a daily basis.
Here you can find information, tips, professional resources, and tech tool reviews from a teacher-librarian. A wealth of information and links to several blogs and social media sites supporting tech and the curriculum.
A great resource for those teaching in the early years. Here you can find information on using tech tools with the earliest learners along with the pros and cons of each tool.
An FSL teacher in Toronto, Ontario, who is integrating technology with the Ontario French Curriculum. Links to free, interactive resources connected to the FSL curriculum.
A blog resource for tech tools including using social media, Makerspaces, Apps, and much more. Weekly updates are sent via email to keep you up to date on the latest tech news.