Monday, October 5, 2015

Four Ways to Start Integrating Technology in your Class Tomorrow

(Almost) Thirty years ago I jumped out of an airplane. It was after about a week of practice, and I knew I wasn't ready. Our guide disagreed, "you will never be ready until you have done it". I found her logic faulty but got on the airplane. When the doors opened, I was sure I was not ready. I advanced with the rest and one by one we all jumped/ were pushed out. Six years later I was driving our car to the hospital with my wife who was experiencing contractions. "I am not sure I am ready" I tried to say. She just looked at me glaringly.

We all have to start somewhere. We all have to take a leap. Like parachuting, it is often scary and full of unknowns, but it is also exciting and exhilarating. In technology integration, it is also like labor, we cannot undo the way technology has permeated our lives.

As educators, we must all take the plunge so here are three practical ways to start:

1. Plan a short formative assessment with technology. Build a quiz, group race, or a Q & A with technology. I prefer Socrative because it allows open-ended questions and works across platforms. Start with two warm-up questions that are easy to make sure everyone understands the technology and then have about 6 -8 harder questions. You can also use websites like Quizizz or Kahoot- the advantage is the high number of shared assessments that you can search. Even if your students do not have devices, you can use a system like Plickers to get a similar result. Formative digital assessment is a short but useful jump into tech that engages students and produces quick results.

2. Have students introduce themselves or a topic using a simple presentation. You can use HaikuDeck Google slides, or even a single pic found online. Keep it short and simple 1-3 slides for each group or student.

3. Assign a digital product replacing a written one. The idea is not to add to the workload, vary it and allow students to use a tool and another way to express themselves. The key is to enhance productivity.

The idea is to add engagement without adding too much to our workload. We have to jump sometime, or someone will push us. Just start doing something.
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