I’ve worked with many teachers who think that they can’t change what they do, and that it’s just too difficult to integrate technology into their classroom lessons. Either they’ve “done it that way” for many years, or they just don’t understand how to use computers and “aren’t good with all that tech stuff.” I am a firm believer that all educators can make their classrooms a better place, and that there is always room for growth. I also understand that a lot of the hesitation comes from the fear – fear of the unknown, fear of giving up control, fear of learning new things. As educators, it’s important that we set examples for our students, that we feel the fear, but move forward regardless.
Integrating technology isn’t an all or nothing process, and I encourage the teachers that I work with to do one thing that scares them, or for them to try one thing that they’ve never done before. If we look at the integration of technology as a continuum between enhancing learning and transforming learning, often that makes it easier. All teachers want to enhance learning, and technology is amazing at doing that.
Enhancement is the first step!
To enhance your classroom, choose one thing that you do now, and consider substituting a computer based solution. Start with distributing worksheets by email, or through Google Classroom. This doesn’t change what you are doing significantly, but it starts your brain working on ways to use the computer to make your life and that of your students a little bit easier.
Once you’ve become comfortable with the tools, try a little bit more. Augment your classroom experience. Try presenting material using Nearpod instead of direct instruction using a whiteboard or chalkboard. Incorporate a bit of formative assessment in there, and you’ve changed it up. Watch the engagement of your students when you review material using Kahoot. Collaborate with Padlet, or have students do group work using a Google tool. Soon you will find yourself wondering how you ever survived without these tools, and your students will thank you!
Eventually you will want to transform your classroom into something completely different. But don’t rush it. Start with a few simple changes, and see how it goes!