Technology Integration in K-12

I was asked,

I'm curious as to what you think the three most important things for new
teachers to know about technology integration in k-12?

1. Community - teaching can be a lonely profession, and it's easy to think you face problems nobody else faces. One of the greatest aspect of the internet is its ability to connect people who are isolated in just that way. A teacher who is able to find an online network will find support and resources. The exact technology doesn't matter much, and has evolved over the years, from the days of email mailing lists, to community bulletin boards, to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

2. Educational Resources - you want your use of the internet to be of practical value, and typically that means finding a quick and easy way to find resources for your classes. It is often a lot easier to find something than to create something. But it's important to do something better than just searching on Google; that can drain more time than you can imagine. Communities often support resource-sharing sites, or members can at least point to one.

3. Course Tools - the original LMS was called 'Web Course Tools' and the name was apt, because the desire here is to provide access to tools that make teaching in a class easier. Simple course tools can be one of the teacher's greatest assets - a place to store course documents and handhouts, to keep records and possibky grades, to develop a profile over time on each student. These tools *may* be accessible by students, in classes that have good technology integration, but the greatest value will be to help the teacher stay organized.

You'll note that I haven't included any presentation tools, like online video, or talked about having the whole class use blogs or Facebook. That's because of the question you asked, which focuses on new teachers and technology integration in the classroom. It is in my mind unwise to attempt to use technology to teach until after you have already learned to use technology for personal development and productivity.

This is partially because it is essential to develop an easy facility with technology before using it in the classroom, and partially because teachers without that experience tend to use technology as a type of television (or presentation tool). But as can be seen from the three points above, technology for personal learning and development is about connecting to community, leaning to find resources, and supporting improved productivity.

-- Stephen


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