Getting teachers to buy in to new technology requires a hook. Too often, though, we emphasize the technology’s bells and whistles over its ability to help make meaningful gains in student learning. How can we avoid this mistake and secure the strongest buy-in possible?
One place to start is with formative assessment. While these tools are less glitz and glamour than other classroom apps, teachers appreciate knowing that their efforts — and professional development time — are geared toward useful, proven practices that will help them to work at their passion more effectively and efficiently.
We found success with Socrative, a formative assessment tool that runs on laptops and mobile devices. Socrative allows teachers to create and distribute assessments to students then immediately collect and synthesize their responses. Our teachers are using it to differentiate instruction and provide meaningful feedback to students.
Aim for a solution that is simple to learn and use. Socrative took less than 30 minutes to introduce and set up and requires only a few minutes of daily preparation and class time. Our teachers spend their time teaching—not wrestling with the technology.
Time is at a premium. Don’t waste yours on low-impact practices that will require repair at a later date. Make sure to get your technology initiative off to the best start possible by using the best hook available: a focus on accomplishing the greatest gains with the least effort.
Brad Wilson is the curriculum leader for customization and instructional technology for the Upper St. Clair School District in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. Wilson’s work focuses on creative uses of technology to facilitate customized learning experiences, particularly with Upper St. Clair’s 1-to-1 iPad Learning Initiative. Passionate about maximizing potential, Wilson works to instill a growth mindset in all members of the school community through on-going discussions related to his personal tagline, “Choose to be Great.”
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