Do you find yourself getting lost in all of the ideas for using technology in your classroom? Are you wading around in the weeds feeling like you aren’t getting anywhere? As a teacher, you can’t waste time. There’s too much else to do. How can you make sure you are using technology effectively and incorporating 21st-century skills? Try my Technology Planner!
What my dentist taught me
Recently, I went to the dentist to get a crown, well the temporary one. I am terrified of the dentist. I know he’s a very nice guy, but even a regular visit makes me consider running away and becoming a toothless hobo. Today, to get a crown, required a nice dose of Ativan and a special scheduling consideration so my husband could drive me.
Why such a hullabaloo? I have a serious problem getting numb on my bottom right jaw. Which tooth needs a crown? One on the bottom right. (Actually two, but one trauma at a time)
As my dentist described how he was going to proceed, he said that he was going to go very slowly at the beginning and see how I was reacting before going any further. He wanted to make sure I was comfortable. (Maybe he’s not as evil as I thought.)
During one of the times when the dentist left the room to allow me to get numb, I thought about what he said. He was concerned about my comfort. What he said made me remember why I started The Tech Tutory. It was for the same reason. I think teachers need to use technology, but each person needs to go at a pace that is comfortable for them. Adding technology to your curriculum shouldn’t hurt or be extremely uncomfortable.
Simple and Seamless Technology Planning
The Tech Tutory began with an idea I had for a Simple and Seamless Lesson technology planner. It is designed to help teachers be more cognizant of the level of technology and higher level thinking skills we include in our lessons.
Why is there an elephant on the planner? I’m sure most of you have heard the joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” Of course, the answer is “One bite at a time.” That’s the same way you can add technology into your classroom; only it’s one byte at a time. I know, bad pun. But it is true.
This technology planner is designed to be a tool for you when you plan lessons with a technology component to them. Don’t feel compelled to fill in every slot completely. It is not to cause more work for you. Use it however you want based on your situation. So, fill it up. Mentally check things off. Whatever is useful.
It is also the planner I will fill out when I post a lesson for you so I can be sure that it uses a relevant technology and different options for 21st-century learning.
Starting the technology planner
So, how does this technology planner help? Let’s look at each section.
- The first four sections are pretty self-explanatory. Jot down what you want the kids to be able to do at the end of the lesson to focus your technology use.
- The next section is for 21st-century skills. Think about which of these skills would be easy to include in the lesson. What does the lesson lend itself to? Focusing on the academic standard or objective will help you choose a technology later on.
- Following that is a section for higher level thinking skills. Check off any skills that you think may improve the lesson. Choose easily integrated skills, so you don’t give yourself a lot of extra work.
- Focusing on these 21st-century skills and higher level thinking skills are just starting points for now. They are not chiseled in stone. You may discover more ideas or different ideas as you plan.
Choose your technology
Now that you’ve used the technology planner have a good idea of what you want your students to learn and do during the lesson, it is time to choose a technology.
Choose an active technology, not something that the kids will just absorb…hopefully. You want something that requires them to interact. For example, if you want them to watch a video on the topic, consider using a site like EdPuzzle to add the interactive component.
I know there are a vast amount of technologies out there, and it can be overwhelming. Don’t spend hours looking for a new program for the lesson. Stick with what you know. If you have a working knowledge of Google Apps for Education, you can create an interactive lesson for just about anything.
I’m on the lookout for different online tools for you to add to your bag of tricks. I’m making how-to directions for you so that you can learn to use them quickly, and save yourself valuable time. One of these how-tos is from my post about the site Flashcard Machine. You can find these how-to PDFs in the members-only section of the website. All you need to do is sign up for the email list, and you will receive the password to these documents. It will be a growing list as I explore new technologies for you.
Use Technology Efficiently
The next section of the planner makes us think about how we are using the technology. We don’t want to use the newest technology only to do the oldest educational tasks. SAMR helps us here by forcing us to check if we are using technology in the most powerful way. If you’re not familiar with SAMR, you can read my blog post on it here, or check out my Pinterest board called SAMR. Exemplary lessons incorporating technology will fall either in the Modification or Redefinition levels. These levels change the experience into something that would not be possible without the technology.
Last on the list
I have left some space on the planner for you to sketch out some procedures if you want to. Then look at the assessment. How are you going to decide if your students met the academic objective, not the technology objective? It is not about learning to use technology, but instead how to use the technology to learn.
So, think of me as your technology dentist. Whether using technology is something you want to do or not, I want you to progress at a speed that keeps you comfortable but still moves you forward. It would have been great to keep the drill off of my teeth, but it wouldn’t have helped the underlying goal.
Try the technology planner. Keep progressing, but let me know when you’re uncomfortable. We can fix that. We don’t even need novocaine.
What is the next small step you would like to take with technology? How can The Tech Tutory help? Comment below or click on the Contact Us page of the website.