Hi. My name is Kaye, and I am an “Early Adopter.”
As much as I’d hate to admit it, I have a problem. Whenever a new technology tool, website, gizmo, gadget, widget, whatchamacallit that comes along, I have to try it out.
Sometimes, this leads to quiet evenings spent alone when I could be out socializing with my friends. Sometimes it means burnt pizza in the oven. Sometimes it means the undeniable, “here we go again” eye rolls I get from my 8th graders.
Technology integration, for me, has become a necessary step along my professional development journey as an educator. It has taken me some time to get over all the fears that accompanied exploring new territories. Will it be blocked? Is it developmentally appropriate? Is it better than what I’m doing now? What if the kids know more than I do about this?
Growth doesn’t come sans pain. Pain from the limitations of our network. Pain from colleagues wondering why on Earth I have need for such “bells and whistles” when I should simply teach grammar and writing (because we all know there’s no room on the Internet for coherent writers, right?).
Pain from knowing there are limitations for me to plan for a sub with all this Internet-based learning. Pain from my own doubts about whether this is really the right thing to do for my students.
After years of continuously honing my “early adopter” skill set, I have come to this simple conclusion: If I can’t beat ‘em, I’ll join ‘em. Kids today have levels of connectivity that we could never have even dreamed of in the past ten years! I’ve got some learning to do of my own if I’m going to meet them where they’re at so let’s go.
When integrating technology into your classroom, it may help by starting with these considerations:
- Is this a tool, another path, of covering the content in your class, as determined by your common core standards?
- Is this technology developmentally appropriate for your students?
- Will this tool help students understand the essential skills you are attempting to cover?
- Does your school have the means to offer this tool to students who have no access outside of school?
- What is the “risk factor” involved with students trying out this new technology tool?
- The demonstration speech must be five minutes in length. (Students know the bullseye is five; the inner circles on the target are four to six.)
- A visual must go with their speech (typically a poster of a diagram, steps in the process, materials/ingredients needed, history/background).
- They must be prepared, with all materials, on the day the speech is to be delivered.