A new laptop, iPad, Chromebook, or another piece of technology has arrived, and it is sitting on your desk. The excitement of using this technology can quickly fade when your mind starts racing with thoughts of “how will this support my students; I don’t have enough devices for all of my students, and how do I make time to teach this?” Anxiety is magnified when searching for ideas on blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Ed Tech sites that promote technology but lack the vision. Struggling with the successful integration of technology in addition to the pressures of teaching the curriculum can educators to feel overwhelmed. Teachers need to build a personal vision of how technology can work with them to reduce the stress associated with integrating technology in the curriculum.
Building a foundation for Ed. Tech. Integration is essential when developing a vision of technology for your classroom. Carefully planning and connecting to curriculum strands will help to develop a road-map for your vision. Consider how technology can be integrated into authentic contexts to meet the needs of students. Students already use technology to socialize, communicate, and create (Whitehead, Jensen, & Boschee, 2013). Using Tech Tools in a meaningful way to excite their learning facilitates a positive change in their educational experiences.
Setting goals for your technology integration plan will drive your vision. What is the purpose of using a particular technological tool in your classroom? How will it support or develop student learning? These are key questions to keep in mind when developing a technical vision. Create goals with technology that will engage students, create experiences and authentic projects outside the classroom, as well as grow critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills (Whitehead, Jensen, & Boschee, 2013). Technology goals should encourage students to learn in new ways and prepare them for success in the 21st-century.
Once a foundation has been build and goals are established, the implementation phase starts. You have chosen a tool, a way to present and integrate the technology, and have developed a plan. When embedding technology to enhance student learning, remember what you are trying to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. Creating a proactive approach with a clearly mapped out plan to integrate your vision will seamlessly integrate technology. If technology is introduced reactive, it will often be viewed as “just one more thing to do” (Blink, 2016).
As we develop a vision of technology, and best practices, educators require a significant amount of self-reflection. Research tells us that Teachers Vision of Technology does not always match the classroom practices (Ertmer, Gopalakrishnan, and Ross, 2001). So how do we fix this gap between vision and classroom practices? Reflect on what went well, what didn’t work, what changes you will make next time as well as areas for growth for yourself and your students. During this process, make it meaningful and carefully constructed so that any revisions that are made meet your needs.
Professional Development (PD)
Working with new technological tools can be challenging and overwhelming for teachers. Professional Development can increase their comfort levels when developing a technology vision for the classroom. Becoming confident and proficient with the chosen technology can facilitate a seamless integration in the classroom. Below are web-based sites offering online learning opportunities for educators:
- PBS Online Educators Courses PBS are online and self-paced geared to both beginner and experienced teachers. The have a wide variety of courses in curriculum areas as well as instructional strategies, and technology.
- ASCD offers professional development courses for educators online, self-paced, and interactive. They keep a resource bank section of Leadership and Conference Events.
- Teachers First offers live, online, virtual workshops for teachers. Teachers first professional development workshops are interactive, scheduled after working hours, and available for credit.
- Sophia professional development courses are paired with Capella University to deliver flexible courses and credit graduate courses.
Technology is ever-changing, and our students are moving forward as 21st Century Learners. Facilitating learning by developing a vision for technology in the classroom is essential. Use these five steps to start developing your vision:
- Develop a Foundation and Connect to the Curriculum
- Create Goals
- Professional Development
Blink, R. J. (2016). Leading learning for digital natives: Combining data and technology in the classroom. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=KMrMCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT36&dq=implementing technology vision in classroom&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjW6cv-pqHNAhUXKlIKHbjnA6wQ6AEIMTAB#v=onepage&q=implementing technology vision in classroom&f=false
Ertmer, P. A., Gopalakrishnan, S., & Ross, E. M. (2001). Technology-using teachers: Comparing perceptions of exemplary technology use to best practice. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 33. [Electronic Version]. Available: http://www.iste.org/jrte/33/5/ertmer.html Windschitl (2002)
Whitehead, B. M., Jensen, D., & Boschee, F. (2013). Planning for technology: A guide for school administrators, technology coordinators, and curriculum leaders (Second ed.). Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6bdAAQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=curriculum technology&ots=w2HVqHPvDJ&sig=mvNuVrbIkK0X7LapC9zbe2yxVWA#v=onepage&q=curriculum technology&f=false