If you’ve ever walked across a conference expo hall or scrolled through your Pinterest feed, bright and shiny technology can instantly grab your attention. Making sure a new piece of technology or compelling digital resource is a good fit for your students is easier said than done. When time is taken for strategic integration, you can absolutely enhance learning with technology.
As a classroom teacher with a cart of iPads, I wasn’t particularly worried about “how” an iPad worked. My goal was always the “what” are we going to do with these tools we couldn’t have done before. These guiding questions can help you think about your choices as you take steps to enhance learning with technology:
- At the end of today’s lesson, what should students understand? (learning goals)
- How will I know for sure if students understand? (expectations)
- What would I like students to accomplish today? (learning experiences)
You can use technology to help address the questions listed above in a variety of ways. From helping students access learning goals to demonstrating their understanding of course content, technology can enhance teaching and learning in the classroom, when used strategically.
Enhance Learning With Technology
In this blog post I share an interview with Bethany Petty, the author of Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning. You’ll learn about some of her strategies for enhancing learning with technology. These steps are ready for you to put into practice this school year.
Many readers are familiar with my “tasks before apps” mindset. So I knew I had to share this new book from Bethany and her thoughts on technology integration. Her book Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning, provides information for educators who are ready to make the most of technology. Bethany answered a few questions about her work and new book below.
Why is this topic important to you?
With the increasing availability of educational technology tools and resources in classrooms around the world, teachers have an amazing opportunity to design meaningful learning experiences for their students through intentional technology integration. However, teachers can become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of apps, websites, and devices. They can all too often view technology integration as just “one more thing” they have to “do” in their classrooms.
My goal in writing Illuminate was to provide teachers with practical, easy-to-implement ideas for intentional tech integration designed to have a powerful and positive impact on student learning. A theme that I emphasize throughout Illuminate is “it’s not about the tech; it’s how you use it!”
How has the availability of technology changed the way you teach?
When I began my teaching career, I fell into the trap of teaching the way I was taught. I was a “lecture-only” teacher with a few projects sprinkled in along the way. I had to be in control of my classroom. The focus was on what I was doing, as opposed to what my students were learning.
Since becoming a 1:1 classroom, I’ve moved from a “sage on the stage” to more of a “guide on the side.” I have moved to a designer of learning activities as opposed to the “gatekeeper of knowledge.”
With the availability of classroom technology, I feel like I’m free not only from my computer/projector, but also to provide my students with a more personalized learning experience, helping, encouraging, and pushing them to succeed. The relationships that I’ve been able to forge with my students, due to the fact that the technology we have allows me to be more present with them individually and in smaller groups, has been extremely gratifying for me as a teacher!
In your book, you discuss different strategies for educators using technology. What is one thing an educator can to tomorrow to get started?
If you’re looking for something to use in your classroom tomorrow that will have a positive impact on student learning, sign up for a Kahoot! or Quizizz account today! These game-based learning sites allow teachers to search for learning games relating to their content and play them with their students right away!
Through both of these platforms, students are encouraged to not only demonstrate their understanding of content but can do so in a fun, competitive way. Teachers can use these great platforms to quickly and easily gauge what their students know and have fun doing so!
Where do families fit in when it comes to the ways teachers can use technology this school year?
There are so many great ways that teachers can use technology to improve communication and transparency. This year, I created a Remind not only for each of my class sections but also for the parents of my classes. This has allowed me to keep my parents informed of classroom happenings. I can also provide parents with information about projects, assessments, etc., that their student has in my classroom. Open lines of communication are key!
Do you have advice for an educator who wants to host a book club for your book?
Please let me know! I’d love to join your book club! I’ve also created a companion site for Illuminate. It includes discussion questions/topics for each chapter, as well as challenges for participants.