It can be hard to bring in new technologies into the classroom. There are so many to choose from – and so little time to try them out. So. I thought I would ask some of the best edtech professionals that I know to recommend their fave tried (and classroom tested). Here are their top tips for integrating technology:
- Rachel Smith, Apple Leader for GECFutures.
Rachel sees integrating technology as a means of ‘redefining’ teaching rather than replacing.
“I think there are a number of teachers, and a growing number at that, who want to harness the power of technology and use it purposefully in the classroom.
These teachers, contrary to popular belief, are not mavericks. These teachers want to redefine what teaching looks like and indeed what learning looks like. These teachers don’t want to use technology for the sake of it, they want to keep the best bits of ‘traditional’ teaching but they also want to accelerate learning, to improve teaching and to show the world that teaching isn’t simply about traditional or progressive education and that technology, when used well, is not a distraction but a powerful tool that can help all students progress.”
- Kylie Combellack, Primary Leader for GECFutures.
My top tips for introducing tech into your classroom:
- Play with it first always -you find out so much more if you have a play with it!
- Allow the pupils to play too!
- Then bring them back to what you want to do with it! “
- Becki Bawler, Secondary Leader for GECFutures.
Becki’s top tips for bringing more technology into the classroom are:
- Think Big
- Start Small
- Plan, Do, Review, Repeat!
“Think Big with a vision…where do you see the EdTech at the end of the academic year and in 3 years time – it is futile to plan more than 3 years in advance with edtech IMHO. What do you want to see in classrooms, how do you want staff to be working with it, what platform(s) are you looking at, what kind of budget can you hope for, what support will you have (both technical and from staff/ governors)…Think Big!
However, you need to Start Small. Many schools have cupboards with out of date technology, interactive products not being used as interactive products, things bought on a whim by an overly excited head of IT or by a member of the leadership team but without a plan for implementation, so start small. Pick a few staff you know will get on board, talk to them about what they could do reasonably in their lessons over the next academic year, what budget will you have this year (and more importantly can this be sustained over the next 3 years) and then buy a small selection of EdTech and apps to support this, using Twitter and other PLN’s to help you make the decisions based on what actual teachers are doing, so Start Small.
Finally, as with everything in the classroom follow the principles of Plan, Do, Review. Modify and adapt your plan each term as you and the staff find out what works for you. It may work for the school down the road, it may have worked in your old school but it needs to work for your school now. Review and then push on with the vision, growing the number of staff and classes engaged with EdTech, keeping up to date with new apps and technologies available but take it steady and keep up with the Plan, Do, Review cycle”.