Edtech practices are about learning and improving performance by using and managing classroom technology appropriately. That means using classroom technology in the form of products/apps/tools to enhance learning, pedagogy, and instruction. However, the most powerful technology any classroom has or ever will have is still teachers like you.
You’re the superhero of your classroom. Think of edtech as your sidekick. It’s there when you need it, but not overwhelmingly. After all, you should avoid ever using tech that does not serve your purpose in the first place.
That’s when we see that it’s not about technology replacing any current practices. Instead, it’s about the use of those tools to aid in the successful delivery of education.
Learning and Forgetting in Using Classroom Technology
In martial arts, students are taught to learn techniques to a level of unconscious fluency, and then forget them. Although it sounds counterintuitive, there’s a deep reasoning for it.
The concept behind this is reaching “mastery in order to release dependency.” It means that once the techniques are ubiquitous and fluent, the student need no longer waste energy worrying about perfection. The knowledge is always there, and can be called upon when needed. You could apply this same philosophy to edtech practices.
Get as proficient at using an edtech tool as you can, so that you no longer need to focus on it. If it doesn’t lend itself to seamless integration into your curriculum, even after training, then don’t use it.
How can teachers make the most of using classroom technology? How do you make teaching and learning easier and more fun with its help? Let’s list some edtech tools that can actually make your teaching more efficient.
Here are some tips from Brookings:
- Empowering technology: Focus on what’s relevant, meaningful and time/energy saving. If it doesn’t support instruction and doesn’t do so more efficiently it will be rejected. Finding the right technology could free a class to reach its potential.
- Technology as part of lesson planning: Technology is meant to be an integral part of your planning routine. Khan Academy is one of those sites that can be turned to regularly for great flipped content.
- Open-source tech: Open source is free, and chances are there’s an app out there that will accomplish what you need. “Open” also refers to resources for teaching content or images and other media for your presentations. Creative Commons is a gateway to free and reproducible content.
- Online portfolios for evaluating students: Explore digital portfolios. Kids can keep their work on the Cloud and use these records to impress potential employers or colleges.
- Embrace Common Core: Adopting the Core takes the guesswork out of planning and eliminates redundancy. Many edtech tools are now taking advantage of the standardization and incorporating them into their apps.
Great Tools for Using Classroom Technology
There is such a growing quantity of quality apps and tools online today. It seems incomprehensible to not be using classroom technology to enhance learning. Teachers are craving inexpensive, user-friendly tools that improve student learning. Lucky you, because there’s a whole list of them below.
EdTech for teachers: Start with using classroom technology as your own teaching assistant. When you can understand the tools, then you can share them with the students. Here are some examples to explore:
- Online Collaborative Task Organizer—Asana
- Cloud Storage—Google Drive/Google Docs
- Blogging sites—Edublogs
- Project Based Learning Solutions—The GDCF Solution Fluency Activity Planner
- Professional Learning Network—Twitter, LinkedIn
EdTech for students: Decide which tools will enhance learning through direct computer experience by students.
- Digital Portfolios—Evernote
- Assessment online—Socrative
- Flipped lessons—Khan Academy
- Blogging sites for students—Weebly
- Cloud Storage—Google Drive/Google Docs
Don’t try to use all of these at once. Pick one and use it regularly. Add as needed, or don’t. Maybe only one of these will transform the efficiency of learning.