Technology Integration in Public Education
Working in public education, I worry that we are allowing our teachers and our students to miss out on what I believe will increasingly connect all of us in the future - TECHNOLOGY.
Our students may not be as engaged as they could be... our differentiated instruction could not be as good as it could be... our classroom management could be a bit too chaotic... and we could miss out on tools that would decrease our stress levels and allow us to work smarter. In this post I give an overview of why a tech presence is needed at both an organizational and classroom level.
Expanded Web Content Is Necessary
Expanded tech content should be central to any product whether it be that of an organizational team or the classroom of one teacher. Online content can make the communication of a project much more attainable to stakeholders and students, which can lead to a more effective accomplishment of an objective.
Tech integration in a classroom or training setting can facilitate differentiated instruction and individualized learning, which are foundations for learner engagement and attainment. This is all easy to set up with the variety of cheap or free web-design platforms available such as Google Sites, Weebly, Blogger, Wix, or WordPress.
Remember Web 2.0?
In an organizational setting, I have been able to exponentially expand web content using the open-sourced platform of Google Sites. As a result, my organization is able to share documents and promote collaboration among many other educators with little effort.
By integrating the free web-based platforms of MailChimp, Twitter, and Facebook, my team has also been able to effortlessly expand our communication and stakeholder buy-in.
By providing discussion groups in the closed forums of a Google+ Community, SharePoint, and Padlet, we've been able to provide a space for increased stakeholder participation. In turn, this input from our stakeholders has turned into a vital part of our continuous quality control process.
Just think, what would a classroom look like if this kind of technology was integrated in a learning setting? What kind of response would there be from the students, their parents, and school administration?
Apps for Blended Learning
In a classroom setting, student-centered lessons and differentiated instruction are sure ways to increase engagement and achievement. These educational strategies are much more feasible to any level of teacher with technology integration in a blended learning environment.
A website and an easy to access web address is crucial to this. Integrating engaging, self-paced lessons on the web is possible with apps like Quizlet, Socrative, and Google Forms with add-ons like Flubaroo. And with Google Apps for Education, one of your biggest challenges may be your own creativity, because the technology is constantly evolving.
This style of flipped classroom frees up in-class time for applications of knowledge that will have students prepared to practice their skills in a real-life situation. What is more, most of these apps that I mention grade work automatically. This means that technology integration in education can give you more time to concentrate on what matters the most, and lead your students to a more fortified learning process.
Where To Start?
When I explain these ideas to many educators, they agree with me, but don't know how to get started. There are so many great tips available on blogs, YouTube, and other social media. Though, it can sometimes be difficult to get started when you haven't taken the first step yet. My advice is to just try something. Really. Just try something, anything. If you don't like how that experience goes, try something else. And just keep going like that. You are bound to find some technology that meets your needs.