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Tech Tips for Teachers

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

If you are feeling a bit apprehensive about integrating more technology into your teaching, have no fear! This article will discuss some tried-and-true tips for both the beginning and veteran teacher looking to integrate technology in meaningful ways.

The Importance of Being Mindful About Technology in the Classroom

The tips below are designed to help you think more deeply about technology use in the classroom.

The first important tip:

  • Always be mindful of using technology in meaningful ways.

In other words, don't use technology tools just for the sake of using them. Make sure the technology tools you are integrating actually facilitate learning that is both exciting and meaningful. Read on for more items to be mindful of.

Plan Ahead

One of the most common mistakes teachers make when trying to integrate technology into teaching is trying out a new tool without the proper training or preparation. You should never assume that a technology tool will work perfectly the first time around. It certainly might, but you should never count on it. Always try out a new tool ahead of time. If possible, use the technology in the setting where implementation will actually take place. This allows for some time to fix any errors or deficiencies that might arise. For example, a computer in the media center might not have the same software that your classroom computer does. You will need to plan ahead to make sure everything is in place.

Know What You Have Available

This is especially true if you are starting a teaching job at a new school, take some time to familiarize yourself with the technology tools, both hardware and software, that you have at your disposal. Explore the media center and computer labs. What software is preloaded on the school's computers? What software can be installed at your request? Some schools and districts have a website that you can visit to see what subscriptions and websites are available for use by teachers. Ask your colleagues about these resources and use them.

Know Your Lifelines

Once you are familiar with what is available to you, it is important to identify allies that can be called upon to help you implement the use of new technology tools. The most common person in your building is probably a media specialist or technology facilitator. However, some departments have an in-house tech guru that might be more than happy to help you integrate more technology into your classroom activities. Also, some districts have a technology head that can be brought into your school for meetings or training sessions. Find out who can help, and always be ready to call on them in those, 'I need a lifeline' situations.

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