How to Give EdTech a Try

Are you a beginning teacher who’s new to the whole edtech thing? Or, got some years under your belt and want to give some classroom technology a try?

How can you start?

I’ve put together a free eBook called “An Educator’s Guide to a Digital World” that provides even more in-depth thinking, ideas, and examples.
The following excerpts provide a few of concepts & practical strategies that you can make use of right away. Click here to get the full e-book. 

No Rules, Just Guidelines:
There’s no hard or set rules to learn how to start or how to use educational technology--but there are some general guidelines that I recommend you follow. Some have to do with you, some with students. Let’s break them down step-by-step.
  • Guideline #1: Technology should be used to enhance students’ learning and should rely on evidence-based practices. There is NO substitute for great teachers or great relationships. Remember, technology is just a tool. A super-powerful one for sure, but just a tool. People have to come first, and so does the “good stuff” like lesson objectives & standards.
  • Guideline #2: Technology should help us work with content or skills in interactive, meaningful ways. This is the true power of tech--it can take the outside “real world” and transform it into an “unreal”, tangible experience inside your four walls. 
  • Guideline #3: Technology should eventually empower students to be designers of their own learning. The goal is for students to become critical thinkers and life-long learners. Because tech allows so much possibility for personalized instruction (more on that later), we need to take advantage of its ability to do so to improve students learning.

Build A Toolkit:

Building up your edtech toolkit takes time. Probably one of the best ways to think of it is like building a house. Let’s use that as a metaphor and look at the basic steps:

From there, it’s about finding the apps, strategies, and more that help “fill in” those steps.

How To Fail Fast & Build Your PLN

No teacher wants a lesson plan to go wrong--so why would you want to fail fast? Well, at some point, your classroom tech IS going to fail. Maybe the internet goes down, devices run out of  charge, or a file you need doesn’t backup to Google Drive when you thought it did.

“Fail fast” means the best way to learn from your mistakes is to make them. And once you do, the fastest way to improve on them is to think about them. Reflect. Ask yourself, “What would you change next time?” “How could this problem be avoided in the future?” It’s not a recipe for the greatest comfort, but it will definitely help transform teaching and learning in your classroom.

Failing fast doesn’t mean, however, that you should try to do all the classroom tech you can all at once. Again, take it poco a poco, little by little. If you try to do too many things at once, not only will it frustrate your students and yourself, but it will make it more difficult to isolate the individual factors that caused your lesson to struggle or activity to fail.

The one piece of advice that’s more valuable than almost anything in this vlog is that when in doubt, reach out. And I mean, OUT. There’s a vast number of educators on the internet who can guide and lead you on how to use instructional tech effectively.

We call it your “PLN”--your Professional Learning Network.
cc licensced (by-nc-sa) Flickr photo shared by Courosa

If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve shared here and are looking for even more assistance, go here to download the free ebook. Even more resources and examples await!

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