1. Be open minded and be willing to learn and try new things.
2. Have a back up plan. Hey, you're teachers, you probably already have one!
3. Use the technology that is available and find out what works for you and your students.
4. Be prepared to learn with your students, even at the elementary level.
5. Databases are an invaluable research tool; it shouldn't always be a "Google" search.
6. Group students together to help each other, not everyone starts in the same place.
7. Have students share what they already know; whether it's websites, databases or social media.
8. Ask "like-minded" colleagues to share how they use technology in their classrooms.
9. Use the technology you have to better understand the technology you could be using. For example, you can "Google" how to set up a blog for a class you are taking... :)
10. Keep in good contact with your Librarian and IT department, they are using technology every day and have great suggestions for implementing technology in your classroom.
For the PD I did for my staff I started with Google (drive, docs, slides, forms, etc.). There are so many great tools that teachers and students can use. It is a great way for students to collaborate while each being able to work independently. I also included active participation apps like poll everywhere and plickers (my students love both). Socrative is great for online quizzes and surveys as the results are instantaneous and you can download the info on an excel spreadsheet.
When working with my students (7th and 8th) grade, I always start with the basics: word and simple internet navigation. It is amazing how little students know about basic skills (emailing, attaching documents, saving to a particular place or in a particular format, opening multiple tabs, etc.).
It is important to remind teachers that they need to be patient (students will have diverse abilities) and understand that using technology in the beginning will likely take longer than anticipated. The work you put into frontloading, however, will pay off later in the year.
I think the biggest thing they need to know is first how to use the technology application themselves before implementing it in a classroom. Here is a list of top things teachers should know:
1. Don't be afraid
2. Always ask questions
3. Use your tech facilitator at your school, it is their job to help you
4. Take notes
5. Practice using and creating with the application
1. Be able to balance the use of technology and other non-tech classroom resources (when to turn off the ipads)
2. Model and teach responsible digital citizenship
3. Recognize that not all students learn the same way and be able to use technology to cater to different learning styles and levels.
4. Have a wide knowledge of what different technologies are available and how they work.
5. Being able to use technology to make the class fun and effective
6. Be able to provide activities that allow students to work collaboratively
7. Recognize that all the students do not have the same technological resources at home.
8. Knowing what technology is appropriate for each age level
9. Communication with students’ parents
10. Using technology for administrative purposes
I will be addressing number 3 on your list.
It's extremely important for teachers to have an understanding of how their students learn when trying to incorporate technology into the classroom. Technology is very vast and has the potential to reach many learning styles. However, some technology may not cover every learning style at the same time.
The three learning styles that teachers hear of most frequently are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic or tactile. The last learning style is probably the most difficult to incorporate into the use of technology.
A student who learns by seeing or visualizing would do well with programs that allow the child to participate using their sight and memory. This may include maybe a matching game, the website Kahoot, an interactive map, a timed math exercise, etc. Their are many ways to meet the needs of a child who learns visually through technology.
A student who learns through hearing or an auditory learner would do well with websites that allow them to listen to books or articles, rather than reading them. Or perhaps this student would prosper through websites such as VoiceThread where the student interacts with a text or assignment through sound. This particular student may not have ability to see and comprehend, but rather hear and comprehend.
A student may learn through action or a kinesthetic learner. This student may need to physically do something in order to fully grasp a particular concept. Interactive/hands on programs would fit best for this type of learner. That may mean using programs such as a Smart Board. This would allow the student to answer questions by physically dragging the answer to the question. Or maybe this learner needs an interactive map where he/she can place the cursor over some sort of land mark and then read the facts on it. Or perhaps a chart where the student needs to match a specific leaf to a specific tree. Maybe the student will have to walk around and explore before coming back and electronically recording his/her data. These students will need programs that require physical interaction and involvement.
Teachers can meet these needs in multiple ways. Perhaps creating stations where students choose a station that fits their learning style and speed. Most importantly the teacher needs to be able to recognize the need for a variety of technological programs and ideas. The teacher will have cater his/her teaching to meet the needs of the different styles and paces of the students. Everyone learns completely differently! Technology is a wonderful source to introduce to learners of all shapes and sizes!
I will discuss number 7 on your list.
As educators, we are responsible for utilizing technology to the best of our ability. Part of our job is to expose our students to different means of learning in order to better their quality of education. This includes the use of technology, but the difficulty comes when our students do not have the same technological resources and exposure to technology, especially at home.
Some students have access to technology from a young age, but others do not. The school you teach at could possibly contribute to the access your students will have to technology. For example, in a low income school or urban poor area, more students do not have knowledge concerning technology. It is unfair for an educator to require the use of technology at home when some students may not have access to any. Now a days teachers are integrating more homework assignments that involve a computer or internet access, but in reality, not all students can access these means. There will always be some students who have limited access or exposure to technology. A teacher should therefore strive to create a learning environment for all socioeconomic backgrounds and learners.
Besides socioeconomic status, students also have various amounts of exposure to technology. Some are more comfortable with using technology and understand different tools that are available, but some have not had this experience. Today, younger children seem to be exposed to technology more than ever before. Therefore, we should continue to add to their knowledge of technology, but we should also make sure other classmates have exposure in the classroom to technology, especially if this exposure lacks at home.
How do we address these issues? We do not simply need to eradicate the use of technology if some of our classroom does not have the resources at home, but rather, we should use class time to expose all of our students to new forms of technology. This could include an hour in the computer lab to work on a paper or simply introducing different modes of technology to our students. This time could allow for questions that otherwise could not be answered at home. Technology should be used within the classroom, especially in such advancing times, in order to educate and expose students to new information.