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Get Ready to Integrate Technology:
Ten Tips

Members of the Education World Tech Team offer advice to help your school take advantage of technology in the coming year. Included: Our Tech Team presents their top ten list of tips to help you expand the ways you use technology.

As a new school year begins, we asked the Education World Tech Team to share their best suggestions for things you can do to facilitate technology integration in the months ahead. Here are the Team's responses.

Top Ten Tips for Painless Technology Integration

10. GAIN PERSPECTIVE

Put last year into perspective. To achieve this perspective, ask yourself these questions:

  • Did I use technology?
  • If I did, did the technology enhance the lessons? If not, why not?
  • If I didn't use technology, how can I use it this year to enhance and/or reinforce what I teach?

9. GET ORGANIZED

 

  • Go through old files and delete those that are useless or outdated.
  • Group remaining files in folders by subject and/or topic.
  • Back up important and regularly used files.
  • Transfer all previous student projects to a flash drive.
  • Check all bookmarked Internet sites, and delete those that are no longer valid or useful.
  • Organize remaining bookmarks by subject or topic.

8. TAKE A COURSE

 

  • Take an online course to learn about teaching and learning with technology. There are tons of tutorials on the Internet on a variety of topics. (Check out Bob Bowman's Guide to Free Educational Technology for links to free online tutorials and how-to guides.)
  • Attend local workshops on software or hardware you might want to use. (You won't have the time or energy once school starts!)

7. NETWORK WITH PEERS

6. EXPLORE THE LITERATURE

Subscribe to online or print publications, such as Learning and Leading with Technology (International Society for Technology in Education), Reading Today (International Reading Association), and Instructor (Scholastic), to learn more about integrating technology into your teaching and student learning! (Visit Educational Technology Journals for a list of online educational technology publications.)

5. EXPERIMENT WITH SOFTWARE

  • Explore new software programs to use with your students. Create a temporary folder and practice using the programs. If what you do doesn't work, don't save it. If it does work, save it as a template or guide.
  • Choose the best programs and decide which lessons might fit best with each. Practice teaching a sample lesson. Trying new programs for the first time in front of students is the wrong time to find out it doesn't work.
  • Design student instruction sheets for simple projects or activities using the best programs. Easy, short, step-by-step directions will allow students to use the software independently.

4. INSTALL TIMESAVING TECHNOLOGY

Locate, install, and practice using technology that can make your job easier. Consider programs such as an electronic grade book to record student work, an electronic lesson planner, a word processing program to create parent letters (add clip art for interest!), and a database program to create labels and mail merge word-processed letters.

3. CREATE A CLASSROOM CLIMATE

  • Visualize the climate you want to establish and organize your classroom accordingly. Decide where to locate the learning centers, the writing center, and the computer center. (Be aware of the physical limitations of your classroom computers. Cords, for example, are only so long!)
  • Set up a computer-learning center and create a launch page of curriculum-related sites for students. Provide technology-related activities for each unit of instruction you plan to teach.
  • Decide how often and under what circumstances students will use technology. Post a list of rules.

2. PUNCH UP EXISTING LESSONS

  • Take a look at the previous year's lessons and decide which ones can use more punch or a technological boost. Many pencil and paper activities can easily be adapted to word processing, or a drawing program. Another easy way to integrate technology into the curriculum is to give students several options when creating book reports. Better Book Reports -- 25 Ideas! and More Ideas Than You'll Ever Use for Book Reports are two Web links for book report ideas that can easily be adapted to the computer. Making slide shows, multimedia reports, and posters are other options students might choose to explore individual learning styles.
  • Explore lesson plan archives to see what other teachers are doing. Visit such sites as Education World's Technology Archive, Awesome Library, and
    Eduhound to find technology ideas, lessons, and activities that match your curriculum. If possible, find activities and projects that incorporate more than one curriculum area.
  • Search the Internet for Web sites that complement and extend your already successful lessons. Look for interesting text, pictures, movies, and activities that convey the message you want to give students.
  • Create a book-marked list of the best sites, and include the URLs in the appropriate places in your plan book. That will help you remember to use them when you get to the lessons and avoid the search for that slip of paper that has sunk to the bottom of your book bag.
Top Ten Tips for Technology Integration

Let's review the top ten tips from the Education World Tech Team:

10. Gain perspective.
 9. Get organized.
 8. Take a course.
 7. Network with peers.
 6. Explore the literature.
 5. Experiment with software.
 4. Install timesaving technology.
 3. Create a classroom climate.
 2. Punch up existing lessons.
 1. Prepare something new.

The number one way to prepare to use technology in the coming year --

1. PREPARE SOMETHING NEW

  • Locate tools that will make learning more exciting, interesting, and relevant for students: A multimedia encyclopedia adds sound and video clips to basic information and provides links to related topics. A word processing program helps students with the steps in the writing process. Quality software can be individualized to allow students to practice curriculum skills at their own ability level. WebQuests can help students use the Internet to work toward curriculum goals. Telecollaborative projects, such as those found at Global Schoolhouse are a wonderful way to integrate curriculum while students work with their peers around the world.
  • Learn to use technology that extends the power of the computer, such as a scanner, digital camera, video camera, and projector. Use your new tools with presentation software to create curriculum-related presentations for the computer learning center. (If you use pictures or movies from a Web site, be sure to get permission to use the items.)
  • Plan lessons to teach students to use those tools to enhance their own curriculum projects.
  • Work with a partner to plan new curriculum units or lessons. It's lots more fun that way, and you and your partner can brainstorm ideas, share the planning, and contribute your individual strengths.
  • Design new curriculum incorporating technology. Design at least one brand-new adventure for this school year. Starting the school year with a newly designed unit will negate students' thoughts of "Oh, no! The same old stuff again!" and rekindle the spirit of adventure that got most of us into teaching in the first place!
Who Are They?

The Education World Tech Team includes 40 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. Stay tuned in the months ahead as members of the Tech Team share their thoughts on a wide variety of topics.

Libby Adams, computer resource teacher, Troost Academy, Kansas City, Missouri

Pat Bihon, enrichment/technology specialist, Lincoln Roosevelt School, Succasunna, New Jersey

Kathy Campbell, regional coordinator,

* Louisiana Department of Education INCLASS Assistance Program

* Dave Figi, computer teacher, Parker High School, Janesville, Wisconsin

* Beth Gregor, elementary technology coordinator, Pleasantdale Elementary School, La Grange, Illinois

* Fred Holmes, Webmaster, Osceola High School, Osceola, Nebraska

* Mary Kreul, grade-2 teacher, Richards Elementary School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

* Lydia Patrick, technology coordinator, Mountain Brook Elementary School, Birmingham, Alabama

* Marcia Reed, media center coordinator, St. Pius X School, Toledo, Ohio

* Lori Sanborn, technology specialist, Rancho Las Positas Elementary School, Livermore, California

* Russ Stamp, media specialist/district Webmaster, Manitou Springs Middle School, Manitou Springs, Colorado

* Lisa Wilson, computer lab coordinator, South Knox Elementary School, Monroe City, Indiana

* Katy Wonnacott, technology and social studies teacher, Signal Hill School, Belleville, Illinois


Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © Education World

 


Updated 08/15/2011
 

 

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