- Does the site have educator portal/accounts available?
- Can information from the site be shared publicly and is there a global search option?
- Is there a registration process? Are codes available? Is personal e-mail required?
- What are the publishing options? Can work be saved privately? Are social networks involved?
- What is the cost? Are there any associated costs with a “free” site? (pop-ups, advertising etc.
These considerations should be on a teacher’s mind during the planning stages of using new technology in the classroom. Do teacher’s actually think about these technical details or do they focus more on how the tool will work with the curriculum? I interviewed Jennifer Harper (
@Greenharper4) and Renee Hernandez (@teachplustech), 4th grade Math/Science teachers in Allen, TX, to find out how they incorporate new technology with their students.
Question 1: How do you decide which tools to use with your students?
@teachplustech: “You need to see the capabilities of your students (age, grade level, etc.). Next you see which tool will help engage students in the concepts you are covering.”
@Greenharper4: “[I look for technology tools] to enhance and engage students in TEKS that are hard to learn.”
Question 2: What obstacles do you need to overcome to obtain permission to use new technology?
@teachplustech: “As the teacher, I get permission from the administration and the parents.”
@Greenharper4: “We are given the opportunity and encouraged to integrate technology in our lessons as often as possible here in Allen.”
Question 3: What advice would you give to a teacher seeking to replicate your efforts incorporating technology in the classroom?
@teachplustech: “You have to understand your curriculum first before you start picking technology to use. The technology needs to enhance your instruction, not replace it.”
@Greenharper4: “Understand your curriculum first, then you can find ways to enhance instruction through technology especially with concepts they struggle with.”
I appreciate both teachers sharing their experiences with technology integration. Both teachers focus on the importance of knowing your curriculum before you choose a technology tool to engage students in the content of a lesson. Technology should be a tool for learning, not the focus of learning. Renee and Jennifer are supported by their administration, which is also an important part of technology integration. Every school needs teachers, like Renee and Jennifer, willing to take the time to research and learn the technology to integrate it into the classroom in meaningful ways. Many teachers are wary of using technology because they don’t understand how or are afraid it won’t go smoothly. Taking chances, and sometimes failing, is a great way to discover something new!
References: Dembo, S., & Bellow, A. (2013). Untangling the web. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Corwin.