“Oooh, but I just don’t get that Tweeter. It doesn’t make any sense!”
Tech frightens some people. It can be a generation thing. Some people just didn’t grow up surrounded by the wonderful technology we have at our disposal nowadays. It’s just not part of who they are. They saw the world before all these new-fangled devices, and they liked it just the way it was!
For others, they don’t consider themselves tech savvy. “It hates me! It just breaks whenever I touch it!” Some people feel that technology has a personal vendetta against them. It’s out to get them and it will stop at nothing to make their lives a misery. So they don’t touch it.
Technology has so many potential benefits in the classroom, and yet there are many teachers averse to its use because of this fear. They fear defeat and resist the urge to use technology in any way, shape or form.
For those who fear tech, here are some tips: –
Keep the end in mind
What is it you are trying to achieve as a teacher? Every lesson has its goals. You want your students to leave the classroom having learnt something. Tech or no tech, this is always the overriding goal. If you are considering using a piece of technology in a lesson, first, consider what you are trying to achieve. Technology is a tool – like a pen, ruler or note paper. You use a pen to write, a ruler to measure, and notepaper to write upon. If something existed that did these jobs better than these items, you would use that item instead. That is what technology is. It’s a tool designed to fulfil a purpose. Your first job as a teacher is to set that purpose. What is it you want your students to learn or achieve?
Stress this purpose to the students
At the start of any lesson involving technology, tell them what you are trying to achieve. For example, with Kloodle, you could state the aim as “today, we’re going to learn about the importance of resilience and how you’ve developed this over the course of your studies”. Your lesson could then focus on what resilience is, why it’s important for your students’ future career prospects and how they are developing resilience through their daily college activities.
The lessons that take place occur offline. You are still providing the guidance, support and realisation to students, as would be the case in any lesson. Only this time, you are going to select a piece of technology as your facilitator, rather than a textbook or the blackboard.
In our resilience example, you still outline the activities you want your students to undertake. Example tasks could be: –
- A group activity where students create a collaborative mind map of what resilience is and examples that demonstrate it.
- List 5 examples of how each of student has individually demonstrated resilience in their own life.
- Write an extended piece about one of these occasions and how it is an effective example of displaying resilience.
Use the tool
Once you have determined the aims of your lesson, and completed the activities that will lead to the learning, you then pick your tool. If you aren’t tech savvy, the likelihood is that you were tempted to use technology by one of two sources: –
- A colleague will have recommended the device, software or dongle
- Implementation of a particular piece of tech is a college wide initiative – you HAVE to do it
In both instances you have to know what purpose the piece of technology serves.
For example, Kloodle takes all the skills you develop with your students and allows them to demonstrate them to potential future employers or admissions tutors. If you are then teaching resilience, and want a student to learn how they have built theirs over the course of their studies, it makes sense to publish this on Kloodle. They can then share this journey with others. The tech serves a purpose. Just as, with using a ruler to measure a line, your tech usage has to have an outcome that contributes to your students’ learning and development. It adds value.
Sit back and let the students play
Once you have introduced your tool of choice, sit back and watch your students go.
This generation are tech-native. Even if they aren’t a tech savvy individually, they’ll have a classmate who is. You have done the teaching aspect and pointed them in the direction of a tool that helps them perform the task at hand. Now leave them to work it out. They will be able to. They will enjoy the autonomy. If you get asked “how do I do such and such?” feel free to own up and tell them you don’t know! Ask them to work it out themselves, or to use a classmate for help.