Thursday, 1 October 2009

Top Ten Tips for Teachers Who Want to Integrate Technology into their classrooms

This first ever guest post on WTT (or DTT) is below from Karen Schweitzer. She adds a much more coherent view of technology than I ever could!

1.There are new sites, apps, downloads, and learning tools created every day. You can stay up-to-date by conducting research online, reading education technology blogs, and listening to podcasts like TILT or The Teacher's Podcast.

2. Find out how other teachers are using technology. Talking with others can sometimes be the best way to get new ideas or explore unknown technological advances. There are several websites and social networks dedicated to providing a forum for teachers who want to discuss educational technology. A good site to try is Classroom 2.0.

3. Try the technology first. New technology (or technology that is new to you) can sometimes be problematic. It is best to test it out before you present it to a classroom full of students. Pre-testing will allow you to work out any bugs and customize the tech tool for your class.

4. Know the rules. There are some school systems that have very specific rules about integrating technology in the classroom. Most of these rules have to do with student privacy or security, and may require that you seek parental permission.

5. Speak to the headmaster or school administrator. Letting someone else know that you plan to integrate a new technology in the classroom is a good way to avoid problems later on. Principals and school administrators are sometimes more familiar with the rules and pending laws in the state. Speaking to them ahead of time protects you, your job, and the school you work for.

6. Start slowly. Once you have decided to integrate technology in the classroom it can be tempting to go wild and use it at every opportunity. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best approach. You may be better off introducing one new idea or tool at a time so that your students do not feel overwhelmed by too many changes.

7. Monitor students carefully. Although this probably goes without saying, it is important to remember that students can be vulnerable when they are online. It is essential that you monitor their work and their use of web technologies to ensure their privacy is being protected.

8. Track results. This will help you determine whether or not the new technology is working or taking away from the classroom experience. There are, of course, many different ways to track the results of your technology experiment. For example, you could measure success by excitement, skill improvement, or grade improvement.

9. Get feedback. One of the best ways to determine whether or not your technology experiments are successful is by asking students to provide you with feedback. You can ask for verbal responses or written responses. You can also gauge student opinion with an online survey or poll created on sites like and ProProfs.

10. Don't be afraid to make changes. If you find that a technology isn't working quite like you hoped, make changes to it. Many of the educational tools that can be found online are customizable. Those that aren’t can be replaced with something that works better for your classroom and teaching style.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online colleges and universities for