Technology is everywhere! It’s in the classrooms, too. Some old-school teachers consider it to be a distraction. Naturally, students get distracted when using social media during lectures. When technology is being used properly, however, it can only enhance the learning productivity of the students.
We cannot ignore the fact that we’re preparing these generations for a future in a world of technology. They will be using it on a daily basis. Their jobs will practically depend on it. No matter how much we hesitate the trends, we must adjust our teaching methods to the needs and preferences of today’s students.
Old-school teachers may have trouble adapting. If they haven’t used much technology before, it will take a lot of learning and practice before they can start introducing different tools in the classroom. It’s a challenge, but that’s exactly why you love this profession – because of the challenges, right?
There are few methods that make it easier for teachers to adopt new technologies. We’ll list 7 of them.
1. Start Using Technology on a Daily Basis
You have to be proactive. It’s important to experiment with different types of technology, so you’ll know how to implement those skills into your teaching practices. You already know how to use a computer, right? What about a tablet and a smartphone? These devices are crucial for introducing technology in the classroom.
Use technology in your daily practices. For example, you can use Mint for budgeting, Remember the Milk for planning, Evernote for note-taking, and Prezi for creating presentations. These tools are really simple to use, so you’ll convince yourself that technology is not that scary.
Needless to say, you should also start using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all other social media platforms that your students are already using. You’ll be surprised to see the educational potential they have.
2. Let Your Students Be the Teachers
When you don’t know how to use a certain tool, your students might help. If, for example, you want to start a private Facebook group where you’ll all communicate and you’ll involve the parents in the process, it’s safe to say that you can rely on your students. They will show you how to set up the group and how to post updates. Of course, really young students can’t teach you much. If you’re teaching teens, however, you’ll have a lot to learn from them. According to The Communications Market 2017 report, 14 and 15 year-olds are the most tech-savvy generation.
3. Learn from Your Colleagues
How are other teachers using technology in their classrooms? Talk to your colleagues. You can get inspired by their practices, but they can also learn something from you. When the old and new blend, we can create strong educational methods that follow trends without neglecting the good-old personal connection between the teacher and their students. Don’t limit this collaboration to the colleagues from your school. You can take it further. It’s possible to
connect with teachers from all around the world through platforms like Edmodo.
4. Explore Blogging
Edublogs is a blogging platform specifically aimed at students and teachers. It’s a safe environment that’s free from distractions. It’s really easy to start a blog and engage your students in it. You may post educational articles on a weekly basis, and invite them to comment with questions and suggestions.
You can also ask your students to write their own blog posts, which you’ll publish on the blog. Justin Osborne, the Senior Education Manager at BestDissertation, supports this method: “Trust me on this one: students will like blogging much more than they will like essay writing. Instead of assigning an essay, ask them to write a blog post on a certain topic. They will still have to research and support their arguments with authoritative online resources. However, they will write in a much friendlier style, without being suffocated by the 5-paragraph structure.”
5. Use Technology for Providing Feedback
If you’re still not ready to start using robots, virtual reality, or augmented reality, you can turn to a simple practice that still involves technology: providing feedback through online tools.
You may do this through a private Facebook group.
You may also ask them to submit assignments via Google Drive, so you can add notes directly on them. If you’re ready to take things further, you can use a tool like Neo. It’s a learning management system, which you can use to share learning materials, assignments, and instructions. You may use the tool to build entire online classes and monitor the progress your students make.
6. Set Some Boundaries
You cannot turn the classroom into a tech hub. You don’t want students glued down to screens; you still want them to be active even when you don’t rely on technology to teach. That’s why you have to set healthy boundaries. Plan how much time you’ll devote to tech tools, and make sure to include books, paper, pens, and other old-school tools in the educational process. Inspire your students to collaborate and have lively discussions. They don’t need to type comments to have a discussion. They will have to speak up from time to time.
7. Focus on the Positive
Old-school teachers have a major blockade: they focus on the disadvantages of technology. It’s distracting. It dilutes the lectures. It teaches the students to expect to be entertained. Yes; all that may be true to some extent. When you use technology properly, however, you can minimize those negative effects and you can emphasize the positive ones.
Focus on the positive! Your students have to learn how to use technology, and you’re the one who’s going to teach them to use it responsibly. Are you ready for that challenge?