The number of apps available to educators is amazing. But before being tempted to download and use all that catch your eye, make sure to follow four important guidelines.
- Remember–pedagogy first, technology second. With the constant barrage of new options, teachers must NOT be swayed by simply trying the next new tech tool. Read this 10-Question Checklist before downloading any app for classroom use. Determine how an app/site will support and/or enhance student learning. It should never simply be an alternative to using a book or pencil.
- Honor the one-per-quarter rule. Don’t pressure yourself (teachers) or the students to master several apps or websites simultaneously. Kristin Ziemke, author of Amplify, believes in focusing on one new tech tool a quarter. By the end of the school year, you will have fully integrated four new applications successfully.
- Invite and observe. A great way to learn best practices (and build capacity across the staff) is by observing others executing technology integration successfully. Teachers can observe the behavior management with devices, the lesson design implemented, and the engagement through collaboration with peers. (The hard part is often determining whom to observe, what he will demonstrate, and coordinating when it will occur. The Pineapple Chart might be the perfect strategy.)
- Avoid the wheel of apps. When scrolling through social media, it’s common to see a pie chart claiming to be a “one-stop resource guide” when it comes to integrating technology with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and the SAMR model. As alluring as it appears, be very cautious of any resource that places an app or website into a single category or DOK level. That notion goes against the entire premise of meaningful technology integration. It’s not about the technology itself. Rather, it’s how the technology is applied in the learning process. (For example, on the wheel, Twitter is listed in Substitution category or DOK 1. However, if a teacher is participating in a Global Read Aloud and connecting with another class on Twitter, their thinking is reaching beyond DOK 1/Substitution.)
For more technology integration tips, check out www.fttechtips.com and follow @nadinegilkison on Twitter!