Did you know that using technology is not the same as integrating technology? When a group of educators was recently asked, ‘How do you use technology in the classroom?’, I was not surprised to hear the usual responses of email, parent contact, locating lesson plans, maintaining grades, etc. However, once the question was reworded--“In what ways do you have your students use technology?"--the answers were more consistent with technology integration.
- “I used Google Forms and created an assessment for students on a novel we were studying. By using the Flubaroo script, it was quick and easy to assess their learning.”
- “I had students email family and friends for food grocery ads from around the world. We used the food ads for math and Bloom’s Taxonomy activities.”
- “I had students use the iPad to locate definitions for our civics vocabulary. Students then used PhotoBooth to record the word, meaning, and used the word in a sentence. It was a great way to share the information with students that were absent.”
Summer is a time to reflect on what lessons went well this year and how they can be improved. Perhaps it is a good time to determine how you can add technology into the assignment. Here are a few ways to encourage integration in your school.
- Highlight apps used at faculty or department meetings. Have someone speak about the use and benefit of using the app.
- Make video recordings of the class use of technology and promote on the school website or YouTube channel.
- Sponsor a “coffee chat” once a month for staff to come together to discuss issues faced with the use of technology in the classroom. Prevent this from becoming a ‘venting’ session by setting clear parameters for participation.
- Be consistent with what is expected of students and staff by setting clear BYOD policy and procedures.
- Model the use of technology by all.
- Share special “finds” ( links, articles, lesson resources) with others during meetings and maintain a record using Google Docs.
- Conduct surveys throughout the year to gather information regarding the use of technology and share with parent groups.
- Create a group of student assistants that can help teachers in the classroom with troubleshooting.
- Include technology in discussions within Personal Learning Communities. Members of the PLN can be responsible to share ‘tips and tricks’ during the school year.