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Computer Specialist Shares Successful Ways to Integrate Technology

Computer Specialist Shares Successful Ways to Integrate Technology

Elementary school computer specialist Jeff Downing shared with fellow administrators and teachers tips for successfully integrating technology in the classroom to help schools ease into tech initiatives.

"In 2012, Downing developed basic goals for his school, including providing every classroom with a high-quality projector, finding ways to give every student access to some type of technology each day, and increasing internet access," according to eSchoolNews.

He shared with educators on a June 25 webinar his experiences and what helped him achieve the tech goals that were established.

The start of this 2015-2016 school year will see that tech initiative in fruition: "every classroom in the school will have a high-quality widescreen projector, 62 iPads and 62 Chromebooks are onsite, every teacher will have a laptop, the school’s computer labs will offer 32 updated desktops, and internet access will have tripled," the article said.

Downing separated his tips into two categories: administrators and teachers, as both have a different and purposeful role in tech integration.

"From an administrator’s perspective, barriers to integrating technology include reluctant or resistant teachers, lack of resources, lack of time to learn technology, lack of trust in students and/or staff, outdated policies and procedures, and problems with infrastructure, Downing said," according to the article.

Downing had several recommendations for how administrators can get over these obstacles. First, as many tech experts will say, it's important for administrators to establish clear and concise goals for any tech initiative in order to be able to communicate these intentions with parents, community leaders and the like for support, he said.

In order to make sure teachers do not struggle with integration, he said it's crucial that administrators accept that different teachers will go at different speeds, and that's okay. And by "lowering the barriers to use" by offering training prior to roll-out for students and teachers, this guarantees a certain success.

Administrators must also make sure they are familiar with the tools they are rolling out, and that the most important tool they can possibly possess throughout the process will be communication.

"Everyone in the school and district should be on the same page when it comes to the technology integration plan and goals. Consistent communications allows the school community to feel connected, and it makes fundraising and awareness efforts that much easier," he said, according to the article.

As for teachers, he said they "count lack of personal competence with technology, lack of time, fear of the unknown or fear of technology’s impact on teaching, lack of trust in students and self, and no time for troubleshooting among the top barriers to technology integration."

He recommends they treat planning the use of technology as they would any lesson to get the best grasp on how to start integrating.

"Teachers should teach explicitly and provide parameters for the technology’s use," he said according to the article.

He also recommends "unplugging lessons" versus becoming reliant on the new technology to teach. He says the best policy is to alternative days of instruction that use technology and don't.

"Have a growth mindset and don’t be afraid to fail. Tell students they are going to pilot a new lesson that day, and students will be enthusiastic while the teacher is able to try something new and gauge how the lesson works."

Read the full article here and comment thoughts in the comment section below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/02/2015

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