When it comes to integrating technology into the classroom, some teachers are concerned about the impact devices and apps could have on their instructional delivery and assessment techniques. There is a sense that changing practices must mean completely abandoning their previous routines. Not so! Here are three ways tech-phobic teachers can dip their toe into new waters.
Start small. Suggest teachers find one small aspect of instructional practice to adjust – maybe a bell-ringer activity, attendance procedure, or quick check for understanding. As teachers see that this practice won't radically alter the course of their instruction, they will be more amenable to the change. And once they see students’ and administrators’ positive reactions, they will likely be more willing to consider more changes in other areas of their instruction.
Solve a problem. Ask teachers what would make their lives easier or more efficient in the classroom, then coach them on ways technology can address that issue. Daily procedures like collecting assignments, conducting brief formative assessments and assigning homework are good places to start. They can be done electronically, saving time in the classroom and enhancing student access to information.
Work with technology, not against it. Teachers commonly complain that the devices students bring to the classroom are a distraction. I encourage teachers to integrate the devices into the learning experience. Apps like ClassFlow, Kahoot, and Classpager let students use their smartphones and tablets as interactive learning tools. Students can contribute to brainstorming and discussion questions, ask the teacher clarifying questions without interrupting the lesson, and demonstrate understanding of the material in real time. In this way, they are engaged with the lesson using their own devices, rather than being distracted from the lesson by those devices.
Karen Owens is a library technology educator at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, CO.
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