You've been working hard all summer to get your school's educational technology ready and running as educators, parents, and students head back to school. It seems like no matter how hard you try, your classroom's ed tech will test your patience, especially during the first week back at school. Discover how to set yourself up for success when you're faced with ed tech challenges so that your students and parents will have a positive learning experience.
1. Test your educational technology before the first day of class
Inevitably, there will be some tech glitches as you issue tablets to students, teach them how to log on and access the digital classroom and give them a tour of the technology you’ll be using together. You can be as prepared as possible by testing your WiFi connection, conducting a video and audio test on devices or platforms, and doing a run-through yourself of the digital tech tour you plan on showing students.
2. Know how to troubleshoot
Getting familiar with the basics of your learning platform will help, but there will be times when you simply don’t know the answer or don’t have time to figure it out. If you're lucky enough to have an IT department at your school, keep their extension nearby! Otherwise, keep a list of numbers and contacts nearby for the different platforms you use in the classroom, so you can easily call support and get the problem solved without losing key teaching time or having to work on the weekends. If you know who to call to troubleshoot, you’ll be in great shape!
3. Set classroom expectations and etiquette from the get-go
The transition from summer break back to school is always tough as everyone adjusts to a new schedule. To ensure a positive learning experience, make sure everyone is on the same page by reviewing classroom rules, etiquette, and expectations for both online and offline learning. For example, no chatting with friends on tablets, using headphones to not be a distraction, and understanding digital citizenship.
4. Keep educational technology integrated with learning
You never know if things will shift and schools or individual students will need to go back to online learning for a bit. If this happens, you want students to be able to proceed with a positive learning experience. Integrate technology, on a more limited basis than virtual, into your daily routine so that students will be able to shift seamlessly to online learning if necessary.
5. Open multiple lines of communication
Having multiple ways of communicating means teachers, students and parents can get their questions answered and any concerns addressed in an efficient manner. Teachers can keep parents informed on school news and their student’s progress, as well as being able to check on students if any concerns arise. While phone calls, text messages, and email are the main go-to's, also consider posting class updates using the LMS at your school and in some cases, creating a private group on social media. In today’s age of technology, there should be no excuses for not being able to get ahold of someone.
6. Emphasize student engagement
You can utilize today’s digital technology in various ways to engage students in your classroom. For example, consider having a classroom blog where you can post articles, allowing the students to comment.
Today’s students are very visual, so YouTube may be a platform to help students and teachers view approved content for writing a research paper. Students these days also seem to have shorter attention spans, so consider short online quizzes, active learning activities where they can write short summaries in small groups, or using online game challenges to review material.
7. Follow school guidelines
Even though we’re all grateful to be back to in-classroom learning, things could shift at any given moment. It’s important to continue to follow your school’s guidelines when it comes to the sick policy as well as the Covid-19 quarantine policy. Whether it being wearing masks, social distancing or passing out hand sanitizer, being compliant to stop the spread means staying in the classroom.
8. Continue learning new online teaching strategies
The online landscape continues to change and evolve at a rapid rate. Stay on top of educational technology trends and strategies by attending free on demand teacher trainings and other professional development courses to keep you current. Staying informed and up to date will also help you discover new ideas to implement positive learning experiences for your students.
9. Be patient
The first few weeks back to school are a transition for everyone. Be patient as kids get used to new sleeping and eating schedules, get to know their classroom and classmates, and get back online using their electronic devices for educational technology purposes instead of fun games and apps of their choice. Be patient with yourself too! You're also going to be bombarded with a new routine, new students, new ed tech challenges, changes and questions. Giving yourself and others some grace will put you on the path for positive teaching and learning experiences.
EdTech Solutions leverages educational technology to improve learning experiences by making it easy and simple for schools and students to manage and access individualized digital content on any device. EdTech’s cutting-edge approach to schoolwide ebook implementation and our innovative online platform and tools give school administrators and teachers the controls they need while providing students and parents with access to all their content on one easy-to-use platform with a single login, in most cases.
When you work with us, we create a personalized bookstore for your school where students can access and purchase their ebooks and textbooks on Shelfit.com. We also help publishers make their content available digitally to students on our robust multi-publisher ebook reader platform. We strongly believe that knowledge and good education should be available to all, and we are committed to developing and providing the online learning tools and modern services that make it possible.