We recently discussed how teachers can narrow the digital divide in their classrooms, and provided solutions for teachers with students that do not have equal access to technology.
One of the final solutions mentioned is to “advocate for better tools.” And while it is important for teachers to advocate on their students’ behalf for better resources and technology in the classroom, it is just as important to know what to ask for and when.
Technology needs to be used effectively to improve student achievement. EdSurge recently published an article pointing out how essential it is for edtech to not only be used for basic skills (drill-and-practice activities) to these underserved technology students, but also used in much more meaningful ways, as it is for more privileged students, to not only enhance student achievement, but engagement, motivation, and self-esteem.
Here are the five actionable tips for implementing new digital education tools in powerful, academic-changing ways:
- Stop Using Technology for Remediation
Instead of the drill-and-practice activities, find digital tools that promote analyzing and synthesizing information, like most problem solving tools. This will not only help your students succeed in academic testing, but it will help teachers satisfy each skill in the 21st Century Education Model.
- Let Students Create Original Digital Content
Allowing students to create their own content gives them the freedom to communicate their own ideas in a creative way to build their personal portfolio. Producing multimedia stories, leveraging social media for learning, and publishing blogs are a few elements that can make-up an incredible school project.
- Pick Digital Tools that Promote Interactivity and Discovery
The only way to know for sure that an app or program will meet your student’s academic goals is by engaging with the app yourself. Explore education apps that may work well with your lesson plans, and test them the way you would ask your students to use them. Will they keep students engage? Does it clearly explain the concept you are trying to teach? Answering these questions will help you in choosing the right tools for your classroom.
- Honor Students as Experts and Let Them Share Their Expertise
To promote independence and ownership, show your students they can authoritatively speak about a topic to a devoted community. The internet encourages local and global communities to discuss a variety of topics—let your students jump in! Just be sure to do a lesson on digital citizenship before this project so that students will approach these communities responsibly.
- Find the Right Blend of Teacher and Technology
The use of technology in education is only as effective as the teacher integrating it into the classroom. Professional development can ease the transition of technology in the classroom, and get both teacher and student excited about all the opportunities it presents to the learning environment.
Need more guidance on how to implement digital tools in your school or district?