Redefining Instruction With Technology: Five Essential Steps
In the fall of 2010, I was awarded a grant that brought 32 iPads to my classroom. I had high hopes that this would revolutionize teaching and learning in my class. These devices would help me to create a magical, collaborative learning environment that met all my students’ individual needs. These seemed like lofty goals—but they all came true. Eventually. First, I had to learn a hard lesson: Just bringing new technology in your classroom and working it into day-to-day routines isn’t enough.
The iPads arrived two days before my students, and I quickly made plans to integrate them into our curriculum. Despite my high hopes, the next two months were less than successful. A casual observer would have witnessed a sea of students glued to glistening tablets, but the effects were superficial. The iPads were not helping my students make substantial progress toward self-efficacy, academic achievement, or social-emotional growth. Around the end of September, I took a step back—it was time to evaluate and reflect on what was happening.
I asked myself: "What have we been doing so far with this technology?" Students used math apps instead of math card games. They’d made slideshow presentations for isolated units. They’d done some research on the Internet. In short, things were going ... OK. Nothing to write home about. Not what I would consider "worthy" of a $20,000 grant. Clearly it was...
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