Readers of this blog will know I have been writing about the process of our university teacher education faculty integrating technology into our instruction. In fact, the gaps between my blog entries occur because helping to lead this initiative takes more time than I anticipated. I am working with two wonderful colleagues, but it’s a monumental task!Our faculty is about to embark on our first semester during which elementary education students will be bringing iPads to classes and faculty are expected to embed the iPad into coursework. Needless to say, many of our faculty (including myself) are experiencing varying levels of nervousness about this whole endeavor, along with varying levels of enthusiasm for the idea itself. In that light, I would like to share a list of tips for creating resiliency and easing into this transition.
Remember What It Felt Like – Empathy is critical when teaching with technology. Try to put yourself in the place of the novice user. When it comes to technology, people often have a short memory. Just because we know how, know an app, know a website, it doesn’t mean everyone does.
Try it Out – Before asking students to do something with technology, give it a try beforehand, taking on the role of a student. This seems like common sense, but so many times we get busy and don’t always make time for such this important, practical step.
Think Through the Steps – In preparation for teaching, see if you can write down the steps for a process; for example, annotating an article using the Notability app. Thinking through the steps will help build your own confidence, but will also ensure that your modeling and guided practice are accurate, which is especially important for new users.
Match your Pace – During class, match your technology pace to that of your students. Because you have (I hope!) tried out the technology previously, your movements may be more fluid than a new user’s. While teaching, be sure to stop and move around the room, checking screens to make sure users are with you.
Give Oral Prompts – Besides displaying the screen on a projector, include oral prompts in your presentation. Say things like, “You should be looking at a page that looks like this.”
Create an Atmosphere of “We’re All in This Together” – No one person can know it all when it comes to technology. During every class session emphasize that we are all learning together, and we have a responsibility to the group to help one another with technology. Present yourself as a learner as well, and emphasize there are no stupid questions when it comes to technology.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Face the fact that some aspect of technology is probably not going to work the way you want it to. Be flexible and, if needed, try to figure out how to do things a different way. Don’t be afraid to say, “It’s not the best, but we will make it work.”
Novice teachers are like sponges, watching faculty to see how to put all of the pieces of teaching together. They don’t expect us to know everything about technology, but we can model effective ways to integrate technology and effective ways to handle challenges.