As the world has become interconnected through the World Wide Web, it is necessary to include technology in your school curriculum that takes advantage of collaboration, media, information, and creativity to generate solutions. Enter edtech—the wonderful world of combining education with technology.
Welcome to Century Number 21, when teachers’ capabilities will skyrocket and your students will transcend boundaries. A dream, right? It sure doesn’t have to be!
Edtech, put simply, is all things that relate to enhancing the education of our students via technology. To be more specific, edtech utilizes computers and Internet connectivity for collaboration and critical thinking.
Here are a few smart edtech strategies to help you get started implementing cool tech tools in your school. For administrators, these 3 important factors in implementing smart edtech strategies in your school are only the beginning.
You’re excited about edtech, sure. You’ve discovered a whole bunch of nifty tools that you want to share. Not only share, but you are sure that if everyone uses this tool, students will benefit. But hold on a bit.
Trying to do too much and introduce too many tools can stress teachers out, causing “analysis paralysis” and frightening off students and parents.
Introduce one edtech tool at a time. That could even just be Twitter for your teachers as a way to expand your faculty’s personal learning network, and establishing an online support team to keep teachers motivated and in touch with each other.
They can also find support from educators around the world who are doing great things. This is you putting on your life jacket first before saving your students.
Make the Purpose Clear
In a recent blog article on the Global Digital Citizen Foundation blog, we detailed how students were able to define what would make homework meaningful. This concept works for teachers as well.
This means clarifying goals and being explicit in how you want teachers to use the tools for their own subjects. In other words, how is this tool relevant to the teachers?
Take a look at the specific edtech tool, app, hardware, or online service you’re eyeing up and dream how it can enhance every teacher’s life, not just a select few.
Teachers want to be supported, especially when something is changing their routine. They must come away with a clear answer to the question, “How does this new tool, app, hardware, or online service solve a problem within my class?”
Constant Support and Training
What a tragedy to work tirelessly raising funds to acquire the most expensive edtech tools and start the school year off great, then let it all gather dust for the rest of the year. Once you’re in, you’re all in. Regular training sessions are a must.
Beware the trap of offering only one professional development session at the beginning of the school year. Your teachers will get really busy, really quickly. If training can be unobtrusive, in the form of a “formative assessment” tool to see how they’re coming along in the implementation of edtech tools, all the better. Just as students need positive feedback, teachers do as well.
The Rest is in Your Hands
As you can see, these 3 simple and smart edtech strategies mirror all the things that our students need: scaffolding (incremental introduction of skills), purpose (how does this apply to their world) and support (feedback and formative assessment).
The difficulty in acquiring new technology skills is a reality for many teachers, but it can be made much easier by shifting our attention. The danger arises when we focus on the tool, rather than results. Using smart edtech strategies means finding ways to make technology a time-saver, not a time-waster.