Starting the Year Smart with Technology

By Monica Burns 08.25.2014 blog

The beginning of the year is an exciting time for teachers, students, and all members of the school community. If you are headed to a new building this fall or diving into a classroom that is full of technology, it’s important to take time to plan for how to use these tools with students. The first few weeks of school are crucial for setting up routines and expectations. This is true for homework, assignments, and how technology will be used in your learning environment.

As you start the school year you want to make sure that you are thoughtfully introducing technology to your students and that you’ve clearly outlined the procedures that all students must follow.  Here are some questions you’ll want to answer before students walk in the door.

What is my philosophy on using technology in the classroom?

Start off by gauging your comfort level and knowledge with using technology in the classroom. Think about what you’ve tried before or heard about from other teachers. Take a moment to reflect on ways that technology has enhanced lessons in the past or areas that it could promote student engagement.

What technology will students have access to?

As the new school year starts take a look at what technology your building has to offer.  Your school might have upgraded a computer lab or media room over the summer. There might be a cart of iPads for your department to check out once a week. Some schools are also trying out Bring Your Own Device programs. If this is the case, you’ll want to explore some ways that students can interact with these devices during your lessons. It’s also important to figure out what type of technology your students have access to outside of your classroom. When assigning projects or homework you’ll want to take into account the different kind of technology available for students to use in a shared space in the school, at a community center, or at home.

When is the right time to use a particular technology tool?

Make sure that you are using technology with a clear purpose. It should enhance your lessons not distract your students. If you want to hold students’ attention at the beginning of a lesson, wait to hand out iPads until you are ready to dive into a screencasting app or interactive textbook. This doesn’t mean you have to wait until Thanksgiving to take your students on a QR code scavenger hunt, just be thoughtful about how you introduce them to best practices, procedures, and expectations before jumping into an activity.

How can I include different types of technology in my lessons?

As you start planning for your first unit of study or outline lessons for the first month of school try to find ways to include technology. This could be as simple as finding a great video clip to grab the attention of your students, or as exciting as creating a vocabulary word wall that uses augmented reality.

Start smart and get excited for this upcoming year by thinking about all of the ways you can incorporate technology into your school day


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