What if educators listened to Frozen’s Queen Elsa a little more and “Let it Go”? Technology integration in the classrooms tends to stall when educators get in the way. Schools take steps to prevent this — professional development, educator resources, strategic rollout initiatives — and yet incorporating technology into the classroom remains a challenge for many sites. How do we change this?
Here are five ways you can foster true technology integration with your students:
- Allow students to play on their devices. We encourage them to play with math manipulatives or other resources before getting started with a lesson. Let’s do the same with technology.
- Give students time to play with a new app/tool when you introduce it. They want to take selfies and draw on their own faces when they first start to work with Skitch. They want to enter silly names when they play their first game of Kahoot. This is good; it allows them to get familiar and comfortable with the app.
- Implement a work timeline with a paper or digital calendar. This simple addition will give students a visual cue to remember key dates and serve as touchpoints for teachers to check in.
- Give students choice when they show their learning. Provide a rubric that outlines what they need to do in order to show mastery, but let students decide how. If you are just getting started, consider limiting the choice of apps or tools to a few. Let them show you their learning in a variety of ways.
- Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use the app/tool. Students will figure it out and become the experts, and ultimately help their peers.
Don’t let technology integration stall because you aren’t ready, don’t feel comfortable or hate to lose the teacher-centered model. Let it go.
Kristina Peters is the e-learning specialist and school library liaison for the Nebraska Department of Education in Lincoln, Neb. In this role, she supports the Nebraska BlendEd Initiative, advocates for school libraries, spearheads the NeBooks Project, and provides professional learning opportunities in the department and across the state. Kristina is an Authorized Google Education Trainer and has successfully implemented Google Apps for Government at NDE. She serves as a member of the Edcamp Foundation Partners Program, a board member for the Nebraska Educational Technology Association (NETA) and helps organize EdcampOmaha. Connect with her on Twitter @Mrskmpeters
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