What a difficult school year it has been for teachers. Thank you for your work on the front lines to ensure our children and youth’s health and education were sustained throughout this difficult year.
As Digital Promise team members who have researched and supported teachers’ use of educational technology, we want to recognize and celebrate your successes. After taking some time to reflect on your learnings, you’ll be ready to create a plan to sustain your technology practice in the school year to come. Below are some guiding questions to help you with your reflection.
Every teacher’s starting point with technology and distance learning was different. Think back to the very first stages of having to use new hardware and/or software, and acknowledge how much you have accomplished:
With an abundance of digital learning resources readily available, knowing where to begin, then making a selection, can seem daunting. Teachers we have spoken with about instructional technology advise starting with the basics. What were “the basics” for you? Maybe this was focusing on the technology tool to best deliver instruction or identifying the specific digital learning resource to utilize with your students. With the basics covered, assessing your technology readiness and soliciting feedback on your students’ experiences can be an informative next step:
Checklists and rubrics can provide a helpful starting point for you to self-assess where you are in terms of your technology integration readiness. For instance, Michigan Virtual developed a teacher continuity readiness checklist as a tool that teachers can use and offers resource recommendations. Consider seeking out recommendations from a district/school leader, instructional coach, or other teachers. Videos like this one on what technology tools to use or this one on supporting students’ social and emotional learning can inspire you to think about what you want to continue into the next year. To help center students’ experiences in this process, check out these activity ideas to gain insights from your students.
Technology integration into your classroom is an ongoing process of refinement and improvement. After becoming comfortable with an initial transition to teaching with technology, teachers may continue to recognize opportunities for more powerful learning with technology. Some questions to consider in this part of the journey are:
Frameworks for educational technology may be useful for identifying your areas of strength and next steps. Most frameworks call for teachers to eventually use technology for purposes beyond facilitating classroom logistics and presentation of new facts. For example, the T3 Framework anticipates educational technology might initially be used for automation and consumption (e.g., instructional videos, learning games), and eventually involve uses that involve inquiry design and/or social entrepreneurship.