For the last few years I’ve waited. I read the articles about schools brimming with technology. Attended workshops with gadgets I couldn’t possibly figure out. Listened to the talk of hand-held classrooms. All the while, having no idea when it would set foot in my classroom. Two years ago I thought a new projector meant replacing the overhead with the crooked arm and fan as loud as a jet engine. But alas, technology has arrived in my school and classroom. And I love it!
But it’s not a romance made in heaven. I’ve made so many new friends in the last 18 months. Here are just a few… Computerized grading and attendance system, new multimedia projectors, Mobile iBook Lab with science probes, Turning Point Classroom Response System, Mimio Smartboard, Pro Test Generators, and countless lessons utilizing unitedstreaming, Power Point, Google Earth, and so many others.
Believe me, I’m thrilled about each and every one of them. They are valuable tools that increase student interest, provide new resources, and get me fired up about entering my classroom each day. But can someone please tell me how to use them? And therein lies the problem. If you’re not the type of educator who jumps right in and embraces this new technology, you may run out of the classroom screaming, “I don’t have another
!” It can certainly be overwhelming. Just the other day I was introduced to a new technology tool, played around with a little bit, and figured it would be a great idea for my class three days later. Later that week, as the school nurse reminded me to keep breathing into the brown bag, I realized that my brief introduction to the product did not quite add up to my “mastery” of the program. It often takes a while to learn the ins and outs of these new tools, and certainly takes even longer to figure out where you’re going to plug this stuff in. My room has so many wires and cords I feel like Steve McQueen dodging hoses outside “The Towering Inferno.”
So step back, take ANOTHER deep breath, and follow my tips for making your classroom a place where Technology can feel safe from harm.
Top Ten Tips for the Beginning Technology Integrator
10. If there is a sale on extension cords at WalMart, pick one up. You’ll need one soon.
9. If you feel completely confused and overwhelmed, ask your students for help. If that doesn’t work,settle for the professional IT staff.
8. Keep a supply of chocolate on hand at all times for emergency situations.
7. Don’t ever say, “Wow! This is going pretty smoothly!” during a lesson integrating technology.
6. Your calculator with the really BIG numbers does not count as you integrating technology.
5. Do not physically raise your hand during a webinar. No one can see you and you’ll never be called on.
4. Remove any hammers from your classroom before integrating technology.
3. The term “User’s Guide” often offers no guidance on how to use something.
2. Using Google Earth to show your class where you live might not be the greatest anticipatory set for your lesson. Especially if there is furious note-taking.
1. Be prepared for a Keystone workshop. You may have severe laptop envy.