As an educator and now an Instructional Consultant, my passion revolves around enlightening others on the ease and effectiveness, and impact that proper technology integration can have in the classroom. Regardless of the grade level, content or the students that you’re teaching effective tech integration can be life changing not only to you as an educator but your students as well.
I have always considered myself to be somewhat technologically saavy, not an expert by any means but I am willing to give anything a try at least once. I grew up as a “digital native” which essentially means that I was surrounded by technology which meant for me at least that basic tech skills were somewhat second nature. This has a lot to do with the exposure to technology throughout my years in school and at home which proved beneficial as I’ve gotten older. I first became interested in educational technology as a college student in my Intro to Educational Technology course. His last name now escapes my mind, but I will forever remember the impact that Jeff had on me. In his class we learned the basics of blogging, and were able to create many fun projects to such as “about me videos” using Animoto, stop motion animation projects and the real challenge was to create an activity using Scratch. I loved all that we did in his class and was inspired to continue on that track to get a specialization in Educational Technology as I received my Masters in Elem. Ed at the University of Florida.
As a teacher I started out as many do, just integrating technology in whenever I had the opportunity to do so.. and I learned a lot through my own experiences. As stated in the article linked within this post I made many common mistakes during my own learning process, the “worst” being technology to fill time. I can admit it now, but it has taken me a while to be able to come to the realization that what I was doing wasn’t really helping my students but instead just providing them with “busy work” in a fun format.
It took me many years and lots of conferences and self research to figure out the most effective ways to integrate technology not only to aid my face to face teaching, but to benefit my students and really use the tech as a learning tool rather than “a toy” or to “fill time”.
Now that I know what I do, I strive to share with others all that I know and that I continue to learn daily from my PLN (personal learning network) on social media to allow them to not make the same mistakes that I did just a few years ago.
I do believe that there is a time and place to “fill time” but in most of the classroom instruction there needs to be a true value and a purpose for technology integration. The integration needs to ensure that the students learning experience will be enhanced and improved with the technology, otherwise (in my opinion) there is no point in bringing in the extra components. I am all about technology integration, but I do believe that some lessons I’ve seen could have been just as effective, or even more effective without all of the extra components that teachers sometimes try to bring in just to check certain things off of their lists. When lesson planning, be sure to stop and think about each part of your lesson… and ask WHY and HOW will these additions help to deepen and enhance the students learning experiences ? If you aren’t able to answer that question.. there probably isn’t a need for it.. no matter how hard that is to realize from time to time.
Though I myself have found a hard time effectively integrating this model into my own lessons, I think of the SAMR model. This is a great resource to look into as your looking to integrate different technologies into your classroom instruction-