With the start of the new academic year, now is the perfect time for teachers across the country to think about new strategies for embedding technology into their classrooms. With many lessons learned throughout the pandemic, continuing the momentum that was built with the use of online platforms such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams is vital to ensure EdTech continues to flourish and not disappear quietly back into the background of our thoughts.
Whether you’re new to using technology in your classroom or have been using it for a number of years, embedding it into your teaching practice has never been easier. Here are some simple EdTech tips that you can use daily, as part of the teaching and learning process in your classrooms.
1. Log in on a daily basis
This is a strategy that will be beneficial to all-year groups whether you are in primary or secondary school. Logging in seems like a relatively simple task but one which can take a long time if students are not used to doing it on a daily basis. Forgetting passwords and slow typing will hinder your teaching and students' learning. So getting your students comfortable with logging in will save time and will then let them focus on using technology to enhance their learning.
2. Choose an app to focus on
There are a number of apps that are available for many different tasks and it is tempting to try them all at once. You will run the risk of your lessons becoming too instructional with an emphasis on learning lost. Choose one app that you can focus on and embed it within your classroom before moving on - this will give your students an opportunity to master that app and utilize it to its full capacity.
3. Consider one learning platform for all resources
Choosing one platform and using it consistently will help speed up your students’ ability to access learning material. Using a consistent learning platform such as Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams to provide lessons and resources for your class is an efficient way of using technology effectively.
The increase in our students’ knowledge of using these platforms has increased greatly since lockdown and we should harness this to enhance and extend our students' learning.
4. Learn from your students
The way technology is being used in today’s society, our students are exposed to it at home daily and are growing up in the technological age. If you are unsure of how to implement specific tasks, for example embedding photos or videos, then have the confidence to let your students demonstrate to you and each other. More often than not, your students will be more than happy to show you what they have learned about different apps. You will probably learn a thing or two along the way; I definitely have!
There will be moments when you are teaching and inevitably, things will go wrong. This not only happens with technology but can happen in all lessons across the curriculum.
Having the patience and perseverance to keep trying will increase your confidence in using technology in the classroom.
This is most important when introducing and attempting new ideas in your classroom. If at first you don’t succeed then try another method. Having a solution focus when thinking about my teaching pedagogy has pushed my ability to use technology within my classroom.
Bonus: Whole-school tech top tip
If you’re thinking of implementing new technology to the whole school, then a top tip is to share new ideas and success stories during staff meetings. This is not a whole staff sharing time but just a 10-minute weekly snippet by a member of staff showcasing technology being used in their classroom. These ideas can come from multiple sources with some being shared by colleagues and others from online tutorials demonstrating how to use the technology. This encourages positivity and a willingness to share and attempt new ideas, which will begin changing teachers’ mindsets about using technology in the classroom and breed a newfound enthusiasm for EdTech.
Implementing these EdTech top tips will help you begin providing your students with the skills necessary to become the digital citizens of tomorrow and begin their digital journey.
Rhodri T Smith is the Digital Integration Lead at Cubitt Town Primary School (Tower Hamlets). He has championed and led the school to achieve Google Reference School status and has implemented 1:1 Chromebooks throughout the school. His role is to lead on integrating technology into the curriculum and develop teachers’ and students’ digital skills. As a Google for Education Certified Trainer, he has lectured PGCE students at the Institute of Education and trained numerous schools across London in the use of Google Workspace. He tweets @TechwithRhodri and can be contacted by LinkedIn