EdTech Magazine has recently posted an article from an education expert about how teachers can easily learn new classroom technologies, and more importantly, integrate them into their lessons. The author of the post, Matt Renwick, is a teacher with first hand experience in bringing apps and electronics into his lessons. We've posted an excerpt from Matt's article below, but we encourage you to read his full post here:
Personally Connect With Technology
When we first integrated tablets into our school, three years ago, one of the first questions teachers asked was, “Can I take this home?” My response was always, “Please!” From my own experience, I knew that using these devices personally would help them become more fluent.
For instance, when I first started using the app Evernote, I would enter information that I wanted to remember but didn’t want to write out on paper. When I took my kids to a department store and they started asking for toys, I created a “Santa’s Wish List” note for each of them in Evernote. I took pictures of their suggestions, promising that I would email these files to the North Pole. With all that Santa has to remember, he should be using Evernote, too.
Certainly, I am not advocating that educators treat school technology like their own personal property. But the line between home and work is becoming blurrier with each passing day. By using these tools for more low-level types of activities, cognitively speaking, we are preparing ourselves for more complex work. By getting the how-to out of the way, we can focus more on the learning and less on the doing.
This past school year was the first time that all staff were fully on board in using Evernote and tablets to capture student learning. But some teachers still weren’t using technology fluently during instruction.
So we set a bare minimum expectation of having at least one note in each student’s notebook or portfolio that contained his or her informational writing over the course of the year. During subsequent training sessions, we would model this practice in front of the whole faculty. In addition, we made sure that teachers had ample time to work with one another, figuring out how to create notebooks in Evernote for each student. Users comfortable with the technology were paired up with more tentative teachers. This reinforced our culture of inquiry and collaboration.
Starting small and providing lots of training with sufficient support helped us to ensure that everyone experienced success right away. No teacher was left behind! This is important because all students deserve to have a great learning experience, regardless of the year or which classroom they are placed in. Setting minimal expectations, while allowing those who were ready to move on to do so, ensured that everyone was on board.