Top tips for using technology
Technology is a resource
As with any other resource, its use needs to be based on how it can enhance the learning of your students. Technology can be used to personalise learning as well as support collaborative learning. It can be used to gather valuable student feedback. Used as fliplearning, it can also be used to bridge learning at college with learning at home. Smart use of phone technology can aid learning and prevent behavioural issues if managed well: Youtube is becoming the number-one search engine for teenagers.
The key aspects to consider when using new technologies are:
- Explore what is available; ask colleagues what they use; choose what you think will work best for your lesson/students;
- Use it yourself before trying to use it with your students – this will help you feel more confident using it for the first time and gives you a chance to troubleshoot any potential problems before using it;
- Set up ground rules for use – enforce consequences for any misuse;
- Show students what can be achieved by using the software eg have a model template if applicable
- Explain why you are using the software – how it benefits their learning
Take a byte
We live in a digital era. There is so much software available that is free. As teachers we really have no excuse not to bring technology into our own teaching practice. That said, there is so much it can be difficult to know where to start.
The following may be a good starting point:
To gather student feedback; assess learning in lessons; to create surveys.
Students can give responses through personal or shared classroom devices. You can choose whether responses are given anonymously or with their names.
Students can create an online post-it board, individually or as a group. You can add text, images, video links to the board. A great tool to develop work over a period of time with a topic or unit or just in a single lesson.
Students just have to use the Padlet link you create, take a device and start adding to the board. They add material simultaneously and can see all the ideas gathered on the teacher board immediately.
Fun and interactive way to generate online quizzes and interactive diagrams which can be used in lessons or to support revision. Students can even make their own.
Students can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web using the Pinterest bookmarklet. It can be used individually or collaboratively and is a great tool to collect and share ideas for projects or specific topics.
This is being used more and more in education now, especially if an institution does not have a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You can create classes, distribute assignments, grade and send feedback, and see everything in one place.
A fantastic assessment tool. Use in real time in lessons, with students working individually or collaboratively. Embed content from anywhere or create your own and try a variety of interactive questions.
These are just a few of what is available for free, so have a go. Ask a colleague if you’re not sure where to start or just dive in, play and see what works best for you.