The question that so many teachers have as they begin the journey of integrating technology into their practice is, “How can I do it all?” Many times teachers are “given” new technologies like an interactive white board, computers, document cameras, and response systems. Throw the myriad of software applications into the equation and you’ve got instant panic. It simply is overwhelming. Essentially, there are several things that teachers can do to calm fears and create a productive, tech integrated classroom.
Students are in school to learn. The guiding light to that learning is the curriculum. Teachers should begin with the curriculum first and foremost when it comes to technology integration. Begin with the end in mind. Ask the question, “What is it that I want my students to be able to do?” Let that drive the instruction. Once the curriculum and facilitating activities are aligned, that is the time explore what tools can help students achieve those goals. Technology might not even be part of some plans, but in our modern society, it’s a pretty safe bet that some type of tech will fit seamlessly into the plans.
Like anything, don’t try and do it all at once. Start small. Get familiar with the various technologies and applications available. Eventually a comfort level develops with certain technologies and applications and it becomes easy to see where those tools fit in instruction. Use the tools that fit and are familiar.
Utilize the help that is available. With the constantly evolving world of technology, it is impossible for one person to know how to use everything. Talk with colleagues and other experts in the field. Make friends with district technology personnel and don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is a “dumb” question. Do searches for and utilize online resources. The web is packed with resources for teachers. Use the “Help” button in software applications. That’s why it is there! The “Help” features in many programs have evolved greatly over the years and a lot of questions can be answered there.
So step back, relax, and take a deep breath! Everything will be O.K! The students of today are very comfortable with the technologies that they’ve grown up with and love using those tools in school. Make it a part of their learning and watch great things happen!