3 Ways to Keep the Focus on Learning, Not Tech

Edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy has come a long way from sim­ple desk­top com­put­ers lined up at the back of a class­room. Screens are larg­er and crys­tal-clear, real-time col­lab­o­ra­tion is eas­i­er, and fea­tures are more daz­zling. The learn­ing land­scape is chang­ing, and school lead­ers are eager to catch up. 

How­ev­er, adopt­ing edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room with­out a clear plan for how to use it can be just as bad as not using tech­nol­o­gy at all. 

I still see so much blind invest­ment in tech­nol­o­gy… and that is not a use­ful approach,” says Justin Bathon, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion­al Lead­er­ship Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ken­tucky, and the direc­tor of Inno­v­a­tive School Mod­els for the Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion. Bathon empha­sizes the impor­tance of under­stand­ing what edu­ca­tors are hop­ing to achieve with class­room tech­nol­o­gy imple­men­ta­tion, before mak­ing the investment. 

An inter­ac­tive pan­el can become a nov­el­ty and a dis­trac­tion, or it can become a win­dow into hun­dreds of thou­sands of open source les­son plans, and stream­ing access to high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion­al videos on every imag­in­able sub­ject. “The tech­nol­o­gy only makes a dif­fer­ence when there is real­ly inten­tion­al lead­er­ship and change in prac­tice by teach­ers,” Bathon adds.

Teachers hoping to incorporate technology into their lesson plans can use a few strategies to ensure that the focus remains on learning, and not tech:

1. Only use it if it enhances your teaching.

If you find your­self strug­gling to fit tech into a les­son plan, it’s okay to go low-tech for a day. Make sure you’re only imple­ment­ing it to enrich the learn­ing expe­ri­ence for your stu­dents, and not to sim­ply prove to admin­is­tra­tion that you’re using it.

2. Go beyond the software.

QOMO’s inter­ac­tive dis­plays and white­boards are equipped with soft­ware that’s designed to help you, but there’s a world of apps, down­load­able les­son plans, and videos to explore online. From allow­ing your stu­dents to wit­ness his­toric events on live video, to nav­i­gat­ing around the globe using Google Earth, tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room gives you the abil­i­ty to acquire and share mate­r­i­al that brings a les­son to life in a mat­ter of seconds.

3. Let your students use it.

Edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy is designed to be inter­ac­tive for a rea­son. Whether you imple­ment a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strat­e­gy or use your inter­ac­tive pan­el as a hands-on learn­ing sta­tion, ed tech works best when stu­dents are allowed to not only see and hear but touch and collaborate.

Before your school makes a purchase, decide what your classroom really needs, and imagine how educational technology can help amplify what you’re already accomplishing as a teacher.

Not sure what you need, or want ideas about how to use tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room? Reach out to us!

Q&A With an Ed-Tech Expert: Don’t Focus on the Tools

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