Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Getting Geared Up for the New School Year

Unpack the boxes.  Restack the books.  Put up the posters.  Organize the desks. Refresh and re-energize your lessons…and don’t forget to dust off the computers.

Hopefully you were able to investigate some of the tools introduced at your summer classes and conferences.  There are so many tools out there.  Be open to new ideas and new ways to teach while you integrate technology.  Be willing to take a risk into the technology world.  It is exciting to learn about some of the tools out there; and then to anticipate how you might use them in your classroom. 
Just remember this:

1. There IS plenty of time to “Integrate” technology.  Rely on your Tech Coach to help mesh the technology in with a teacher’s lessons.
2.      Including the Tech Coach during planning helps to streamline the process of technology integration. 
3. Make sure the tools you choose enhance the learning, and are not just “fun” tools that don’t contribute to the learning objectives.
4. Investigate the compatibility of the tools and the browsers to make sure all runs smooth on the day you want to use the tools.  Do a trial run “as a student” a few days before.
5. Understand that because it is a tool and a device, there may be some issues that prevent smooth operations.  Be sure to anticipate and know how to fix issues.  You might even have a “paper and pencil” alternative ready just in case.
6. Be sure to check the Permissions in the Terms of Service of the web tool to make sure your students are legally using the tool and have parental permissions as needed.
7. Start with the basics.  Use easy tools at first, or use tools that you have used before to get your students comfortable with the technology integration.
8. Keep it educational.  Don’t give students license to just “browse” on the internet.  This usually leads to sites that are not related to school, games that require high bandwidth use, or perhaps even inappropriate sites.
9. Find ways to combine tools in projects, and encourage problem-based learning through research.  Have students use technology to think critically, collaborate, and be creative and innovative.
10. Be ready to share what you have learned with your colleagues…and to have students share their work outside the wall of your classroom.

Call on your Technology Coaches to do model lessons, investigate possible tools and interests you have for the students, and to co-teach in your classroom.  Have a great year.

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