Technology is evolving fast. It seems like there is a new podcast, game, or tech tool that will revolutionize instruction almost every day. How can teachers stay on top of it all? Remember that you do not have to master everything out there overnight. In addition, some trends will not be practical to implement within your classroom. So the question to ask is, how can you find out about what technology trends will actually support your efforts in the classroom and produce better learner outcomes?
Set aside a few minutes to explore the following options and make it easier for yourself and your colleagues to learn about and implement today’s latest technology trends in the classroom.
Collect the Resources You Need
First things first. With so much technology now available to educators, it makes sense to gather a few resources on how to use current technologies in the classroom. For example, Edudemic offers links to valuable guides including ones forTwitter and Flipped Classrooms. These guides will help lay the foundation for understanding popular platforms and concepts being applied to the classroom.
Next, the gang here at the Global Digital Citizen Foundation provide plenty of teacher resources geared toward helping you understand and keep up with technology trends. Here are a few examples:
There are a number of educators committed to learning how to use technology trends in practical ways to enhance the classroom learning experience and improve levels of engagement with learners. Another way to enhance understanding of how to use technology in the classroom is to subscribe to or follow some of the latest tech blogs related to classroom instruction. Teachers can benefit from receiving emails or enjoy updates to their news feed from:
- The Innovative Educator: Lisa Nielson, a fellow educator, shows how teachers can use available resources to make learning more relevant and interesting. She also shares the details on implementing resources.
- EdTech RoundUp: Stay abreast of progress and news in the area of education tech.
- The Daring Librarian: Get entertained and informed from librarian Gwyneth Jones and learn how to use websites and new apps for instruction.
- Free Technology 4 Teachers: Make use of free apps, videos, graphics, and software, in addition to Richard Byrne’s suggestions for implementation.
- My Paperless Classroom: A K-5 integration specialist, Sam Patterson, shares ideas and challenges on using video games, Minecraft worlds and other trending technologies in the classroom.
Blended learning has become a common practice with tech being involved in instruction, student research, and desired student products. Even though our learners are “digital natives” and know much about using various social media platforms and searching online, they may be less aware of how to correctly attribute information they have found and give credit to sources, such as original authors and photographers. Teachers must get familiar with the technology available to students and the best practices for attribution and for avoiding plagiarism.
This will be particularly necessary if students are planning to publish content online on personal or classroom blogs or create Pinterest boards with original and borrowed content. Online publication of content with a student’s byline, such as in a digital classroom newsletter, will require consideration of proper attribution to the digital source material.
Assess the Level of School Support
It makes little sense to try to implement every new technology out there if your classroom and school policy do not support its use. Check into what you can accomplish in your classrooms and what tools your learners may use. Take a moment to address a few of the following questions in the quest to include technological trends in your classroom.
- Are iPads available for classroom use or can you get a classroom iPad?
- What type of Internet access is available?
- What are the policies surrounding students using the Internet?
- Is there a computer teacher or technology “mentor” that can act as a guide in understanding and implementing new trends within instruction?
For teachers new to the school or that have only a basic understanding of the technologies available, this may help them gauge where to focus their energies, how to best set up their lessons using the technology on hand, and how to get first-hand advice from someone who is more knowledgeable about the practical use of the resources and technology at the school. As we are aware, there are many types of learning styles and some teachers benefit from in-person guidance and working with someone on setting up classroom blogs, a class website or another educational tool. Getting insight and immediate feedback from a real person who may have tried it before can allow a teacher to achieve their objectives faster and learn more about the potential and realistic expectations of any new trend.
It’s Easier Than You Think
New technology trends can actually be fun for teachers as well as students. Senior teachers benefit from new approaches that can breathe new life into materials and create welcome excitement from learners. Finding the right tech and human resources can make learning about new technologies easy.