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Written by: Francis Jim B. Tuscano
Introducing technological products and trends in the classroom is currently creating a huge impact in schools all over the globe. Learners develop 21st century learning skills because of the great power of internet connectivity and device mobility.
However, using tablets in the classroom is not as easy as bringing a printed textbook for students to read and work on. Introducing and designing lessons with technology integration requires creativity, careful planning, and a huge amount of patience. Here are six helpful tips for teachers who have the courage to bring the marvels of technology inside the classroom:
1. Start Small and Simple
A simple learning activity with the use of mobile apps is a good start for a tech-integrated class. It can be as simple as taking pictures of plant parts in the school garden or viewing a 3D Earth model. Eliminate complex tasks to avoid complex planning at this moment.
2. Prioritize Learning Goals, Not Apps
A common mistake that teachers commit is to look for applications first rather than articulating their learning goals in class. Designing lessons with tech integration still follows the basics of lesson planning. Learning goals guides the teacher in determining what learning activity should be done. The curriculum should drive the use of technology in class and not the other way around.
3. Prepare a Plan B
Whether you are a newbie or a veteran teacher, there is always value in having a back-up plan just in case something does not work. Technology is not 100% reliable. The mobile app might crash or it might not be compatible with your device or your students’. The internet connection might be slow. Think of the worst-case scenario and be ready with a good old traditional method to use in class, or even better, prevent worst-case scenarios from occurring by making sure that the devices are compatible with the app, or that the internet infrastructure can handle an entire class using tablets.
4. Update Classroom Management Plan
The presence of tablets in class excites today’s students, who grew up in the advent of technology. While such behaviors are expected, unnecessary behaviors should also be expected. Having a reward system is a big help to keep the students focused on the lesson and behave properly in class.
5. Collaborate with Tech Experts
Most schools have Computer or IT teachers who can assist with the technical aspect of planning. Including them in the planning and in the execution of the lesson adds more eyes and manpower in making sure that the lesson works. This way, you do not have to worry about technical trouble-shooting.
6. Think Positive but Welcome Feedback
Trust yourself and your plan. You have given your A-game in designing the activity. Instead of worrying, motivate yourself by imagining how your students would feel after a successful class with apps or mobile devices. More importantly, open yourself to feedback from your colleagues, students, or supervisors. Give yourself enough time to evaluate your experience and learn from it.
In the end, assure yourself: what matters is that you have tried to integrate technology in your class; this is the first step in transforming your class into a world of creativity and collaboration.
Francis Jim Tuscano is an Edu-Tech teacher at Xavier School, San Juan. Certified Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Educator. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in AB Philosophy and MA in Basic Education Teaching.