Technology Integration Tips
As teachers are gearing up for another amazing school year, it’s time to start thinking about how they can continue transforming teaching and learning through technology integration. It doesn’t matter if they are one-to-one, BYOD, one-to-few, or just one device for an entire class, there are multiple ways educators can start the year with technology integration in mind.
1. Start with the why. Then how. Then what. Why are you teaching a particular lesson or unit? How will you accomplish your learner outcomes? And what activities, resources, and tech tools will you use to reach your goals?
2. Start with the end in mind and work backward. The Understanding by Design (UbD) framework is an excellent tool to consider when developing your learning plan, evidence of learning, and desired results. In addition to your content standards, don’t forget to incorporate the technology standards for students.
3. It is important for school districts, campuses, and teams to develop consistent and common language that is vertically and horizontally aligned, and that aligns with the vision and mission of the school/district. Teachers and students appreciate consistency, clarity, and common communication throughout the learning community. For example, one a 1:1 campus with iPads, teachers may say, “Apples up,” to signal to students to place their devices face down (and Apple logo up) to get their undivided attention.
4. One of the most important (and often forgotten) pieces of the technology integration puzzle is support. How will teachers get technical support when the technology malfunctions (and it will malfunction)? When and how will teachers get instructional support, professional development, and ongoing training to help them increase their digital literacy as technology evolves and as pedagogical practices change how they teach with technology?
5. Teachers should always have a plan (and a backup plan) when it comes to technology integration. Just like with your traditional lessons, if you fail to plan, then plan to fail. It is hard to use new tech tools on the fly, you must plan and practice (and practice again). The work you put in up front pays off ten fold in the long run. Technology often has the added benefit of improving teaching, learning, engagement, and assessment. The thing to remember is that technology integration is not one more thing, it should be embedded seamlessly into instruction just like the everything else. We can’t teach students for our past, we must teach students for their future.