Our general workflow integrates digital devices. If you think about your day, how often are you checking the internet, using your cell phone, or using digital programs that support your work? A lot! Students expect this type of experience at school. Who wouldn’t? No longer are teachers the keepers of information and knowledge. Our reach is now vast. Classrooms are extended across the globe and information is at our fingertips.
So how do we integrate all of this technology in a powerful, relevant manner that is safe and impactful?
- Have a plan. At times, the funding of districts dictates the timing of purchases. The devices roll in, but what is next? It is important to have a thorough plan for teachers to ready their classrooms for devices. A classroom implementation guide will help foster the shift in practice and physical spaces.
- Prepare your teachers. In preparation, be sure that teachers engage in meaningful personalized professional development. Allow teachers to have choice and voice in their learning to prepare them to teach and facilitate a digital classroom.
- Prepare your students. Prepare students by engaging in activities to support routines and learning with devices. DO NOT ASSUME students know everything about digital devices because they were born in the digital age. Contrary, students may know a lot about SnapChat, but little on navigating in Google Apps. Student Bootcamps scheduled for the first couple of weeks help build foundational skills that will support learning throughout the year.
- Foster safety. Digital Citizenship has moved from acceptance to responsibility. It is our duty to support healthy online living, just as we do for face-to-face living. Build activities into your character and/or PBIS programs. Teach and reteach. We would rather students fail and learn in a guided environment, then to fail and suffer permanent damage. Be sure to foster a digital citizenship curriculum where everyone in the building is a steward of its lessons. Take a look at www.commonsensemedia.org.
- Make it count. Using technology for technology’s sake is so passe. Co-construct learning experiences with students and let them pick the appropriate tool to achieve the learning outcomes. Meaningful use of devices equals appropriate use of devices. You will see student engagement and achievement increase with relevant use of devices. Check out the SAMR, TPACK, and Triple E models for more impactful implementation guidance.
- Make connections. Experience is the base for making connections to learning. Reach out to experts, classrooms in another country, and virtual field trips. Try a virtual reality experience. Enable students to explore through technology to promote growth and “ah-ha” moments. Also, creating or expanding a Personal Learning Network(PLN) is extremely effective for professional growth and finding those global connections!
Now with all of that said, take baby steps and celebrate along the way. Our students need and desire learning experiences that are personalized and relevant. We got this!!