5 Technology Tips for the Not-so-Tech-Savvy Teacher - @JPPrezz Guest Blogger
The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, coupled with high-tech video games and 21st century entertainment for our students outside of school is
necessitating a change in the way we as educators prepare and present
information to our students. Gone are the days where we can get away
with 50 minutes of lecturing. Our students are watching engaging
Youtube videos and reading Facebook statuses to get their information
instead of reading magazines and waiting for their favorite shows to
come on TV. Today’s students want their classroom experience to be as
engaging as their lives outside of school. The only problem is that
most of us did not grow up in the same technological age as the
students. Integrating technology into your daily plans can be a very
daunting task for an educator who is not familiar with Web 2.0 tools.
Here are 5 tips that will help you start using technology in your
1. Get comfortable with one piece of technology at a time.
Your PLN is probably already inundating your Twitter feeds with more Web 2.0
tools than you know what to do with. Pick the most relevant tools and
get comfortable using them at home. Then, do a trial run at school
before you introduce the activity to your students to make sure the
school’s computers have all of the necessary plug-ins and updates. Just
like we tell our students, practice makes perfect. If you don’t feel
comfortable using technology, you will be even less comfortable teaching
it to your students.
2. Involve students in your planning.
Before I begin any technology project, I introduce the technology to a few of
my students and get their opinions on it. The students know what they
like and what will hold their interest. If they like it, I make that
piece of technology a priority in my planning, but if they appear
uninterested, I toss out that idea and revisit my Twitter feed looking
for something new. Ask your students what technology they use on a
regular basis. If all of your students use Facebook, make it a part of
3. Lean on colleagues who have successfully (and unsuccessfully) integrated technology into their classes.
Whenever you try something new, either professionally or personally, it is
helpful to have the guidance of someone who has “been there, done that.”
Meet with colleagues in your building or call on your PLN for
assistance when you start integrating technology into your lessons.
Most teachers are more than willing to share their successes and
failures with interested colleagues. You will be able to learn from
their mistakes and not have to deal with some of the growing pains your
colleagues had to go through.
4. Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t work out as planned.
Just like our students, we learn the most when we take risks and fail. Don’t let one negative experience with technology turn you
off to using it in your class in the future. Ask your students what the
positive and negative aspects of the project were and take their advice
to heart. Reflect on their observations, what you noticed on your own,
then modify your plans and try, try again.
5. Technology integration may be extra work on the front end, but it’s worth it.
Trying something new as opposed to going with the tried and true lesson always
produces a little extra work. However, the long-term benefits of
engaging your students far outweigh the cost of spending a couple extra
hours in front of the computer after school. As I have learned, the
extra effort goes a long way to engage the students in your lesson and
leave them wanting more.
Keep these five tips in mind as you begin to integrate technology into your
lesson plans. With a little research, patience, and creative thinking,
you will be well on your way to facilitating a 21st century classroom full of engaged, motivated students.
I would like to thank @JPPrezz for being my first guest blogger, as well as for writing this extremely
informative and helpful post. JP Prezzavento is a high school English
Teacher at Seckman High School, located in Imperial, MO.