Help! The district has given us iPads! 5 Simple Ideas for Successful Technology Integration

You’ve got the Chromebooks. You’ve got the iPads. Everything is set up and running, so you should be done right? The students should be clicking away, producing great products, wowing you at their every skilled technological move.

Any teacher out there is probably rolling their eyes at this moment in time. No, they are not clicking away. No, we have not produced anything. In fact, I usually end up with a large migraine after I take the devices out with students.

Although, yes, when you first take the devices out there should be a ‘proceed with caution’ sticker on the cart, but there is a way to get technology processes to run smoothly in your classroom. Successfully integrating technology may even take student to learning deeper.

1) Establish the procedures- Have you thought about your devices like tissues? I am going to guess if you have been a classroom teacher for any extended amount of time, or even if this is your first week in the classroom, you have noticed children’s tendency to need tissues. ALWAYS. And, how, if you are not careful a box a day could find itself in the wastebasket. As a teacher, you had to sort this problem out and put constraints on the tissues. When you can get them, why you can get them, and no you cannot use them as dry erase board cleaners.

Think this same way about the devices in your classroom. How should students be getting them from the cart? When should they be getting them? Who should be getting them? What do the devices look like when you are talking? What do the devices look like when they are hard at work? Establishing clear procedures for devices will help make transitions quick and working with devices easier.

2) If you like you should’ve put a name on it- When students turn in handwritten papers without names you can usually decipher which one of your studious, ever attentive trooper forgot their name. Well, when the paper is typed, this get a little tricky. If you like to know where student’s digital work is decide exactly HOW and WHERE you want your students to save papers. A simple format could be Last Name and Period. If your district uses Google, then using a program like Google Classroom would take care of this step for you.

3) Plan ahead- If you are a school that is not one-to-one and are working with a cart sharing system, then establish a way to check out the devices. I would suggest a digital device checking out system, like creating a calendar just for the specific carts. This allows teachers to know when the carts are available and when they can check them out for a lesson. Just as you may share your own personal calendar with someone. The device calendars can be shared, so all teachers can access it and check out devices.

4) Embrace the chaos- When students are creative and taking charge with their learning they are going to need to talk! I think every teacher has a distinct ear that can hear on-task noise and off-task noise. Hone in on this special skill and allow your students some freedom in learning. Some easy ways to get started with this is allowing some flexible seating during different times of the day. You can try grouping students to complete projects that integrate Design Thinking principles, so they are not just producing a cookie cutter project. Allowing student voices to increase in the classroom will help them to take ownership in their learning.

5) Stay positive- Look, there are going to be things that go wrong when you integrate technology into your everyday classroom. How you react to those setbacks will set the tone for technology in your classroom. I encourage you to seek workarounds if something does not work as planned. Reach out to other teachers in your building. Ask your students if they know how to solve the problem, their knowledge and ability may surprise you. Failure will occur, but failure is part of the success cycle, so embrace it and learn from it. Your example to the students in this area will speak volumes.

If you are interested in more ways to make technology integration successful at your school or district check out our website for more information.

Kat McGowan

by Kat McGowan

Kat brings over 15 years of experience to her role as the Doceō Center Assistant. She’s passionate about streamlining processes and loves finding ways to make life easier and more efficient. She coordinates and manages events connected with the Center’s activities and maintains office services by organizing office operations and procedures. She is currently working on her Bachelors in Business Administration and will graduate in the summer of 2018.