Friday, June 29, 2018

Technology Should Never Come First!

When the educational technology phase first began it was exciting. Look at all of the cool things that we can do by using a chromebook or an app or a website! I was in a 1:1 classroom with chromebooks and thought wow, everything can be digital it will be so much easier!

Flash forward 5 years later and I have realized that there were times I was doing a disservice to my students because I was making something "digital" that had no reason to be digital other than it was completed by typing on a chromebook. And guess what, after having the students complete some of the things electronically, I was still having to go and grade every single Google Doc. So what was the purpose?

I realized that I needed to do some research. What was the true purpose of integrating technology into a lesson? I was putting the technology first and then figuring out what I wanted to teach. What I found was that it needs to be the other way around. As teachers, we must first determine what it is that we want students to learn, THEN decide what technology we should use. And guess what... there are going to be times that technology just won't fit into a lesson and that's okay.

When thinking about technology last, it allows us to use it as a resource. We should be thinking about how technology can ENHANCE our lesson. Do we want students to collaborate on a project? Do we want students to have choice about how they will learn? When asking these questions after determining what the students will learn will allow us to then think about what technology can be used or better yet, will allow the STUDENTS to determine which technology they want to use.

I used to think I had to have some form of technology in every lesson. Yes, using Google Forms for an exit ticket is great because it can grade it for me, but is it worth it? By the time it takes the students to log onto the chromebooks (this is assuming they weren't already using them for something else during the lesson), sign into Google Classroom, click on the Form, and answer the questions/submit it, I could have just given them a piece of paper with the same exact problem(s), had them answer, then quickly glance through the papers to see who got it and who didn't and move on with my lesson.

While it is tempting to want to try out the latest and greatest application or tech tool, remember... first decide what it is you want your students to learn, then worry about integrating technology. We must always remember that the students come first. How is it that this tech tool is going to HELP my students?

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