March, 2015

10 Tips for Teachers who Struggle with Technology

Ask a Tech Teacher

'With technology moving out of the lab and into the classroom, it’s becoming a challenge for some teachers to infuse their teaching with tech tools such as websites, educational games, simulations, iPads, Chromebooks, GAFE, and other geeky devices that used to be the purview of a select group of nerdy teachers. Now, all teachers are expected to have students work, collaborate, research, and publish online. I’m fine with that because I am that nerd, but if I was expected to integrate art into my classroom, I’d break out in a cold sweat and expect the worst. As the tech coordinator responsible for helping teachers use these tools in their classrooms, I hear too often from experienced, valuable, long-time teachers that they believe the time has come for them to retire, that they just don’t get this new stuff. I also have colleagues who think it takes a special brain to understand tech (the same way students think about math and science)–one they don’t have. If either of these educators are you, here are ten tips that will take the fear out of infusing tech into your lesson plans. Take these to heart–let them guide you. They will make a big difference in how you feel about yourself and your class at the end of the day: Make yourself use it every day. Even if you have to set aside ten minutes each day where you close the blinds and lock your door so no one sees your misery, do it. You don’t have to succeed with the tech tool you select, just use it. Whether it works or not is entirely beside the point. The point is you’re trying. You’re exploring the process. You’re unpacking the mysteries of tech in your academic career. Believe this: The more you use tech, the more comfortable it will be, the more commonalities you’ll find between tools, and the easier it will be to share with students. Try to figure it out yourself. Go ahead. Test the tool. You won’t break the computer. Try the problem-solving that has worked in other situations–like intuit a solution, look around the screen and see what pops out, and read the manual. The hardest part of this hint is believing you can do it. When I got my first computer, most people didn’t have one so I taught myself by testing, trying, failing, researching, or whatever worked. I wasn’t always successful, but I came up with a good template for problem solving which works to this day. Ask for help. If you can’t figure it out yourself, there’s no shame in asking for help. Don’t let those geeky tech nerds who work magic on your school’s computers intimidate you. Walk into their office, stand there and talk until they help you. If they aren’t clear, ask them to repeat it. You are smart, just not about tech! Attend webinars. There are lots of free online learning opportunities like LearnZillion and Russell Stannard’s Teacher Training Videos. Here’s a longer list. You can also go to YouTube and search by topic. Many of these are thorough, clear, and easy-to-understand. If one isn’t, try another. For example, YouTube has over seven pages of videos on how to use Photoshop. In addition to rewindable online learning, try live webinars and Google Hangouts. Your favorite teacher resource website probably sends notifications when these are available (like SimpleK12 ). Don’t worry that you’ll be the dumbest one there or that they’ll say stuff you don’t understand. It’s not true. Lots of attendees are silent, there to learn a subject they don’t know. Don’t expect to be perfect. Embrace mistakes. Let students see you’re human, which gives them permission to be less than perfect also. A lot of learning happens through failure. Understand that and expect students to understand it, also. Having said that, I occasionally get parents who are unhappy when I struggle with concepts. They must think I get a daily upload of all tech information that I can access as needed, or that I absorb technology by osmosis. What they don’t realize is there are six bazillion tech education tools out there (and growing) and the one I’m teaching was selected because it’s perfect for the lesson plan. It requires a bit of re-education on the parent’s part and a supportive administration to get past those attitudes. Believe problem solving is fun. NOT knowing how to use technology is not a ‘problem’ It’s a chance to think, stretch the brain, achieve new heights and that huzzah feeling that only comes with great success. Model behavior appropriate to learning new material that you want to find in students. Show them that you don’t whine, throw up your hands, say you can’t do it, or call someone outside for help. You attack the problem with passion, confidence, and a smile. You know as much as most other teachers. I talk to teachers across the country. I know what confuses them, what causes them to reach out to their PLN for help. Most are struggling just like you–some more. They put a brave face on for their school community, but there are times they are only one step ahead of the learners queued up behind them. You’re allowed to Google an answer and then teach it the same day. Yes, you are allowed to reach out to experts for answers even if it’s minutes before the lesson plan is rolled out. With your knowledge and teaching skills, you’ll understand the directions and how they connect to the bigger picture. Search engines like Google and Bing are effective approaches to finding solutions as long as you vet the sources for accuracy and legitimacy. I do it in the middle of class if necessary. For example, last week, a boy pushed some shortkey by accident and ended up with double underlines on everything in his Word doc. It took fifteen seconds on Google to come up with the solution (Ctrl+Shift+D). Let students watch you do this search on the Smartscreen and then model it themselves when they have problems. If you have teachers or students who constantly ask for help with problems you’ve already solved, there’s an acronym for that– LMGTFY. Let Me Google That For You. This is a gentle reminder to your colleagues that they can take responsibility for their own learning via the Google search engine (or Bing, or any other you choose to use). Every day, there are new ways to use technology in education. You will never finish learning this topic. What you can learn is a strategy for addressing it. By transferring knowledge, , leveraging what you do know, and allowing for flexible learning paths, you can develop the habits of mind that will make yourself comfortable with the new educational paradigm. –appeared first on TeachHUB. More on technology in teaching: 13 Reasons For and 3 Against Technology in the Classroom. How to Talk to a Tech Teacher. 5 Top Ways to Integrate Technology into the New School Year. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum , K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers , CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for , and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Follow me. Computer skills Critical thinking Education reform Teaching'

The Creativity Mindset

User Generated Education

I absolutely love all of the emphasis on mindsets these days. There are growth mindsets (which I discuss in The Educator with a Growth Mindset: A Staff Workshop ) and maker mindsets (which I discuss in The Mindset of the Maker Educator ).

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

What Do Teachers Want from Their Professional Development?

Digital Promise

We’ve known for a long time that no two students learn the same way. So why should learning for teachers still be one-size-fits-all? As instruction becomes increasingly personalized for students, teachers are ready for those same principles to drive their on-going professional development. "Teachers

Get Common Core Ready: Achieve Dynamic Student-led Discussions

Catlin Tucker

Discussion can be a powerful tool for learning yet engaging all students in equitable discussions can be challenging. When I began teaching, I was frustrated because in-class discussions were dominated by a small group of vocal students while the rest of the class sat quietly avoiding eye contact.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Engagement Does Not Always Equate to Learning

A Principal's Reflections

No matter where I am, whether it is a physical location or virtual, I am always hearing conversations about how technology can be used to effectively engage students.

More Trending

What is the 21st Century Lesson Plan?

Ask a Tech Teacher

Technology and the connected world put a fork in the old model of teaching–instructor in front of the class, sage on the stage, students madly taking notes, textbooks opened to the chapter being reviewed, homework as worksheets based on the text, tests regurgitating important facts.

How Do We Learn? How Should We Learn?

User Generated Education

If I ask you or your students, “How do you learn,” how many of you could clearly articulate this process? If you can, are the strategies you’re using the best ones for learning?

Designing a Network of Education Innovation Clusters

Digital Promise

Steven Hodas was most recently Executive Director at the NYCDOE ’s Office of Innovation, where he launched InnovateNYCSchools , the first innovation cluster convened by a major school district. He is currently Practitioner in Residence at the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

21st Century Leadership: It’s All About the Trust

Battelle for Kids

March 23, 2015, Volume 2, Issue 4, Number 7. Driving Question: How Does Trust Create And Encourage 21st Century Leadership For Learning? Calling all classroom teachers, building managers, or district level administrators, we need you. 21st century learning schools need 21st century learning leaders.

System 282

Custom eLearning: What to Consider as an L&D Manager

A custom eLearning project is an exciting opportunity, but any L&D Manager will also tell you it can be challenging. Inno-versity shares 5 points to consider before kicking off your project. These concepts are critical to addressing the most common pain points which, IF addressed, will ensure success.

Digital Learning Prospers With the Right Culture

A Principal's Reflections

As of late I have been doing a great deal of work with schools and districts on how to effectively implement digital learning across the curriculum. When it comes to technology in general, the overall goal is to support learning, not drive instruction.

Education Business Plan Competitions: Crafting the Perfect Pitch

Ed Tech from the Ground Up

Are you preparing to pitch your ed-tech startup at a business plan competition? Here are the eight points you need to cover. Click the headline to read the full post. Questions? Email Lessons Learned ProfessorWord Startup Life aboutus lessonslearned professorword

Chromebooks in the Classrooms–Friend or Foe?

Ask a Tech Teacher

AATT contributor, Krista Albrecht, has a balanced evaluation of Chromebooks in the classroom I think you’ll find useful. Krista is a NY State certified Instructional Technology Specialist working in public education on Long Island, NY.

Learning Needs a Context

User Generated Education

This is a follow up to a post I wrote, How Do We Learn? How Should We Learn? The purpose of these posts is to encourage educators to examine practices they take for granted, implement without deep reflection of their efficacy.

Teachers’ Guide to Plagiarism

This article provides teachers with a step-by-step guide on how to handle plagiarism in the classroom: it examines the definition of the term "plagiarism" and its types with examples, describes common reasons students plagiarize, and provides tips for teachers to detect and prevent plagiarism among students.

Building Early Literacy Skills With iPads

iTeach with iPads

Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting -Edmund Burke. I am on spring break this week. It has been such a luxury to linger over coffee and the newspaper in the mornings.

iPad 279

Teaching Speaking & Listening Skills for Today’s Student

Catlin Tucker

In the last few weeks, I’ve heard several adults comment on how sad it is that students today are always on their devices and, as a result, don’t communicate with the person sitting right next to them.

K-12 Educators and Administrators: Share Your Ed-tech Pilot Approach

Digital Promise

Are you a K-12 educator or administrator? Do you think others could learn from the way you conduct ed-tech pilots to inform product decisions? Digital Promise is crowdsourcing best practices for piloting learning technology tools, and we want to hear from you!

Rejection Therapy for Ed-Tech Entrepreneurs and Startups

Ed Tech from the Ground Up

Entrepreneurs face a lot of rejection. But if you learn to embrace it, success can be on the other side. Click the headline to read the full post. Questions? Email Lessons Learned ProfessorWord Startup Life aboutus lessonslearned professorword

Key Elements for Successful eLearning Projects

Discover how this rapid development process creates engaging, custom learning solutions on a timeline that works for you, why a strong learning culture is important, and how to showcase your Return on Learning (ROL) using data to tell the story.

29 Unique Ideas for Publishing Student Work

Ask a Tech Teacher

After you’ve looked at these 29 sites, there’s no reason to print student work and stick it on a wall. You have too many options: Book Cover creator. Create a magazine cover. Flipboard—organize ideas into mag. Glogster—posters. Go animate. Issuu ([link]. Newspaper—create a newspaper.

Video 370

Maker Education Activities

User Generated Education

This coming summer I am getting the opportunity to teach a maker education camp for three weeks, half-days at a local elementary school.

Mid-March Madness with iPads in Kindergarten

iTeach with iPads

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind. Martin H. Fischer. We are only 7 days away from our spring break. I love my job, but am ready for a breather. The kids are ready too. You can say we have our own brand of mid-March madness! Today’s post is a bit of a hodgepodge of things.

iPad 259

Instagram: Document and Share Grammar Gaffes

Catlin Tucker

Last week while out to dinner with my family, I stumbled across a sign with a blatant grammar error. I froze in front of the sign eyes wide and mouth agape. My initial reaction was one of disappointment because my students were not there to witness and correct this real life grammar gaffe!

The Ultimate 12 Step Guide For Choosing The Perfect Learning Management System

Picking the wrong LMS can cost you. Don’t settle for a disconnected, hard-to-use, expensive system that doesn’t meet your needs. Follow these 12 steps crafted by Lambda Solutions' LMS experts, and find your perfect eLearning solution!

“Why Should I Change the Way I Teach?”

The Journal

Singapore’s Ministry of Education provides a clear answer to the question raised by a third-grade Singaporean science teacher: It’s no longer about preparing children for the Industrial Age. It's about preparing children for the Age of Knowledge Work.

Four Lessons from Future Ready Districts

Digital Promise

The Future Ready movement – an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education – is taking its show on the road, with regional summits happening now through June.

How to Create a Curriculum Map

Ask a Tech Teacher

If I’m trying to get from Los Angeles, California to Minot, North Dakota, I start with a map. I build a route that includes the sights I’d like to visit, shows me the connecting roadways, and gives me a rough idea of how long it’ll take. The same is true with teaching a class.

How To 354

Sharing: A Responsibility of the Modern Educator

User Generated Education

In a past post blog I discussed the idea that every educator has a story and that they should share those stories: Educators are doing amazing things with their learners in spite of the standards-based and accountability-driven movements.

Leveraging Learner Variability to Elevate Equity in EdTech

Speaker: Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer & Executive Director, Learner Variability Project

In this webinar, Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise, will share his insights into the modern boom in neuroscience and learning sciences research. You'll discover how much more we know now about how students learn - and how we can use that knowledge to create EdTech-enabled classrooms that can meet the diverse needs of all students.