As an undergraduate student my first year seminar course was titled “Technology: Means of Salvation or Tools of Evil?” We were on the cusp of a new millenium and AOL IM and Napster were pretty awesome to a college student. A lot has changed. And technology never stops changing. I think the answer to the question posed in this FYS would be: it depends or mostly salvation with a dash of evil? Ask me in a minute when Canvas is down and my iPhone won’t let me text in landscape mode.
Tech is constantly evolving – just think of some of the leading social media alone. If I go back in my way-back machine there was Friendster and MySpace which have been replaced by Facebook. Do you have a handle on Instagram, Periscope, SnapChat, Yik Yak, Give a Dog a Bone? (Ok I made up that last one couldn’t resist. That is it didn’t exist at time of posting this!…) There is a lot of tech that can be used in education and used well. Here are some tips (in no particular order) when looking to tackle the latest educational technology has to offer.
- Experiment. It’s amazing what is available, don’t be afraid to try a few things and find a good fit that adds-value to your instruction & your students’ learning.
- Things will go wrong – that’s okay! Apologize, make it a teachable/relatable (hey I’m human too) moment and forge on. Try to have a back-up in mind.
- Keep usability/accessibility in mind. Is it free? Does it work with various platforms? What about students with adaptive tech needs?
- Collaborate! Trying new tech is always easier with a buddy (like going to the gym!) I bet your librarian is willing to pitch-in with the heavy lifting (to keep the gym analogy going).
- Try to integrate tech that helps students create (reach for the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy).
- You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at what your colleagues are doing, attend professional deveopment opportunities, ask your librarian or tech specialist, or look online (just don’t fall down the rabbit hole with the latter).
- Check out sites like these that recommend tech and tech sites to follow: Keeping Up With The EdTech Surge | Steven J. Bell, ACRL online (2014) & TechMatters: Keep on Keeping Up: Resources for Monitoring Developments in Educational Technology | Krista Graham, LOEX Quarterly (2014)
- Try having students lead the demonstration of a new tech tool. Maybe even involve them with the experimenting and selecting as a part of the lesson.
- As long as privacy can be protected (according to standards for your students/school) use tech to showcase what your students are doing with tech by sharing it on a Wiki, blog, website or social media tool.
- Don’t just use tech for tech’s sake. The cool or wow factor can be tempting, but the tech really has to serve a purpose, so have your outcome in mind first then find the tech that fits best.
Bell, Steven J. (2015, Aug.). Keeping Up with… the EdTech Surge. ACRL Keeping Up With… Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/acrl/publications/keeping_up_with/edtech
Graham, K. (2014). TechMatters: Keep on Keeping Up: Resources for Monitoring Developments in Educational Technology. LOEX Quarterly, 41, 1, 6-7.
Olson, K. (2008, Jan. 12). 10 Things Every Teacher Should Know About Technology. Classroom 2.0. Message posted to: http://www.classroom20.com/forum/topic/show?id=649749%3ATopic%3A96384