Monday, March 3, 2014

What Does Effective Technology Integration Look Like in an iPad 1:1 Classroom?



We are in our 2nd year of implementation of 1:1 iPads. One key question that keeps coming up is what does effective integration look like? This is not an easy question to answer, but I have a couple of ideas to help:

1. Students are using them: It may sound simple, but one thing to look for is does the teacher provide students with the opportunity to use them throughout the day. For the first time, technology is able to be in the hands of every student. This is new and different. Many teachers will feel more comfortable using the technology to instruct or present. It requires a big leap for teachers to allow students to use them during class. Recognize this as a success! 

2. Teachers are taking risks: As you observe classrooms, look for teachers who are trying something new. Before they can implement effectively, they have to experiment and try a few things. They need to know that they will be supported in trying these new ideas. If they are told that it was a bad lesson or poorly evaluated for trying it, they will not try again. In other words, they will not learn from their mistake and come back and improve upon it. Find a way to support innovation in your building. I recommend reading:  http://ajjuliani.com/5-habits-highly-innovative-schools/ and talking with your staff about how you support innovation.

3. It's not about the iPads: The elements of good teaching don't change just because you are using technology. The iPads should support the learning, not the other way around. So look for the same things you were looking for before: learning targets, formative assessments, student engagement, demonstrating understanding, etc... But ask how technology can enhance those elements. Can a Google form make checking for understanding easier or faster? Can Explain Everything allow students to demonstrate their learning in a more engaging way?

4. Are you thinking about digital literacy?: It is very possible to be a good teacher without the use of technology. Some teachers may use this as a reason not to change. While it is true that they are teaching well, they may be missing some key elements of learning. For example, are students taking risks and trying new things? Are they learning how digital tools can allow them to curate, collaborate, communicate, and create? If not, there is an opportunity to try something new.

While effective technology integration can be hard to identify, these four key elements are a good place to start!

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