When it comes to using technology in the classroom, there is a right way and a wrong way, writes high-school English teacher Nicholas Provenzano. In this blog post, he writes that the wrong way is to consider how to build a lesson around technology. Instead, he writes, educators should build their lesson plans and then consider how technology could be added to help reach learning goals.
The wrong way
The absolute wrong way to deal with educational technology is to look at a tool and try to build a lesson around it. I have seen administrators tell teachers to use a specific tool in a specific lesson. This is a recipe for disaster. Some tools do not work for certain lessons. They are not needed and can just cause more confusion than anything else. Tech tools are not easily interchangeable with all lessons in all subject areas. This concept needs to be understood by all stakeholders when it comes to infusing technology into the classroom. The tech comes at the end of the process.
The right way
The right way to deal with educational technology is to not worry about it until after the lesson is planned. Keep the tech tool in the corner of your eye, but do not stress over it. A teacher should create the lesson that will best meet the goals and benchmarks set forth by the state and is engaging to the students in the classroom. Now that the teacher has created this amazing lesson, they should take a look around and see what tech tools they have available to them. Will those tools make this lesson better? More engaging? Will it save the teacher or students time and/or energy if it is used with this lesson? If the answer is no to these questions, then technology is not needed for this lesson. If the answer is yes to one of these, the teacher should look to infuse this technology into their lesson plans.
That’s it. Technology does not belong in every lesson just because there is a tool sitting there.
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