Saturday, May 7, 2011

Top Ten Tech for Teachers

Top Ten Things Teachers Should Know about Technology

1. You can do it!  You’ll have to spend some time to learn new skills and technologies, but it’s worth the effort, both for student learning and your own efficiency and effectiveness.

2. Give yourself time to experiment and explore.  You’ll have a better chance of mastering the new technology if you’re not panic-stricken.

3. Check out the website “The 21 Things:  21 Things for the 21st Century Educator: Technology Every Educator Should Know.”  This website offers an organized approach for tackling the many resources and issues related to technology in education.  Make a New Year’s Resolution to learn 21 Things this year!

4. Try to practice what you’ve learned in PD sessions SOON after you’ve learned it, and, of course, save the handouts for guidance.

5. Ask for help.  Sometimes hours of confusion can be averted by getting the answer to one little question.

6. Explore the Cloud.  For instance, save important links and bookmarks on a site like delicious or Google docs so that they are accessible to you from any computer.  Use Picasa to store photos.  You’ll have much more flexibility in accessing your information.

7. Learn with the students.  Let them help you, and let them help each other.

8. Think of the purpose of your lesson and the outcome you’re hoping to achieve.  Being clear on the outcome will help you determine the best use of technology for the lesson.

9. “Use technology only when it makes rich, real, and relevant curriculum richer, more real, and more relevant.”  I liked this quote from the weblink since it reminds teachers that a technology-influenced lesson isn’t always necessary or even the best approach.

10. Make sure students understand that online research has to involve more than just cutting and pasting.

Final Thoughts

I kept my Top Ten list the same because it really covers the areas I want it to.  For me the most important thing I would want to tell anyone about technology is that they can do it!  Many of the points on my list are ideas on how to approach learning technology or little nudges toward really useful tools like Google Docs.  It's important for me to include "The 21 Things: 21 Things for the 21st Century Educator: Technology Every Educator Should Know" on the list because I think people need to have a sense of what the essential tools are, so they're not completely overwhelmed.  Of course, there are many other possible tools for teachers to learn, but these are very valuable in the classroom and are presented in a way that a teacher could learn them on his or her own.

I mentioned this in the discussion already, but learning all these new technologies has made me much more confident that I can master unfamiliar topics.  I just keep trying and testing and trying again, and after a while I understand.  I never approached technology this way before.  In the past I would get discouraged and give up.  Now I see other people panicking around computers, and I'm glad I don't feel that way anymore.  Oh yeah, and I try to help them if I can!

I think I need to push a little further now to master certain technologies so that I can effectively teach them to other people.  For instance, I have a general idea of how to put together a podcast, but I couldn't tell anyone else how to do it yet.  I also plan to do some modelling of cool technologies on my library website.  I plan to hook up a blog there, so teachers can see how it might work; I want to post some jings for using the catalog, both as lessons and to show teachers what a jing is.  And I'm going to put up some Animotos of new books to showcase the books and to introduce the technology.

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