Magazine article Technology & Learning

5 Mistakes I Made with Educational Technology

Magazine article Technology & Learning

5 Mistakes I Made with Educational Technology

Article excerpt

Since effective edtech implementation often involves a big shift in teaching, it can bring about some discomfort and change. I've written before about how I'm a "jump off the cliff" kind of teacher, and eagerly took the plunge into the world of Google Apps and Chromebooks a few years ago. Here are five mistakes--of the many--I made with educational technology.

1. MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT STUDENT COMFORT

Too often, we assume that since students know how to use technology, they know how to use it in our classrooms. It's important to build class time into instruction to assess students' comfort, skills, and transferable skills with technology. Let them play, customize, and practice early in the year to develop these skills and apply them i n new ways so you can be sure that the tech is most effectively used for all learners.

2. TREATING TECHNOLOGY AS SOMETHING SPECIAL

Effective use of technology is not the once-a-week special event or an extra in our classrooms--it's a purposeful part of instruction and learning. In my first year or two with 1:1 Chromebooks, I treated it as something special and different, and that was a mistake. It made my class and teaching the exception and the outlier. Instead, treat technology as if it's as normal as opening a book or taking good notes, and students will see it that way, too.

3. PUTTING TECHNOLOGY BEFORE LEARNING

Some days, technology simply isn't the answer. It's important to think of edtech as an instructional tool, and like all tools, it must be used with purpose. The specific tech you choose, like any learning activity or assessment, must also be the best one for the job. There were definitely days when I chose technology because it was easier or less work for me. And maybe that's okay sometimes. But don't forget the basics of good teaching and backwards design: start with the learning goals and then decide if technology or which technology--is most effective to achieve them.

4. ASKING GOOGLE-ABLE QUESTIONS

One of the most powerful things about the Google generation is that we all have a world of knowledge at our fingertips. If we can look up virtually anything in seconds, then is it worth the time we often spend in schools to memorize it all? Of course, I'm not advocating for no content, facts, or memorization in classrooms, but that we instead prioritize knowledge and skills. …

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