School districts, now more than ever, are relying on technology in the classroom. Where in the past there may have only been a few options to choose from, today the number of options is vast. Last school year, U.S. school districts accessed an average of 703 different EdTech tools every month. This represents a 28% increase over the 2017-2018 school year. With so many tech tools available, how can teachers go about deciding the what, when, and how of tech tool integration? As with many things in the classroom, the answer actually begins with a question, or in this case, 5.
Here are 5 questions to consider when integrating technology into lesson plans in order to most effectively address student and classwide goals:
1) Can this lesson be enhanced by technology?
Sometimes the answer is “no,” and that is absolutely fine. Technology should only be integrated when it meets needs and goals or enhances that unit of study.
2) Is there a tech tool that can expand what is possible in this lesson?
One of the most exciting promises of some tech tools is their ability to take students outside of the walls of the school building without the need to rent a bus. When planning a lesson, consider ways to use technology that will broaden the scope of how students interact with the new material.
3) Do all of my students need to be using the same tech tool?
No. Allowing for some student choice can empower students, promote creativity, and increase engagement. One way to incorporate tech tool choice is when students are using tech to demonstrate knowledge. Allow students to choose from a set number of tools they are already familiar with to increase confidence and ownership.
4) Is there a tech tool that will increase efficiency?
Collecting student responses, grading, and creating practice questions are all common examples of time-consuming classroom tasks for teachers. Integrating tech tools to increase efficiency in any of those areas can be a great way to open up teacher time for more creative and individualized interactions.
5) What is my backup plan if we run into a tech snafu?
Occasionally tech issues will arise. Having a backup plan will ensure that class time is still spent effectively and will decrease frustration for teachers and students. When there is a backup plan in place, most tech-driven plans can be moved to another day.
By starting with these questions, teachers can ensure they are intentionally integrating tech tools into their lessons in a way that not only increases student engagement, but also drives towards the achievement of student and classroom goals.
What questions do you ask yourself when integrating technology in your lesson plan?
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll spread your ideas to support other teachers this back-to-school season.