The 10 (EdTech) Commandments

Laura is a writer and recent Cambridge graduate with particular experience in the area of education technology. She has worked with a variety of different education companies and is active in the 'edtech' community on Twitter, so she prides herself on always being in touch with the latest developments and exciting new tools in e-learning.

1. Thou shalt not be afraid

Sometimes using education technology in the classroom can be daunting. It is always tempting to stick to tried and tested lesson plans and faithful old textbooks, which have never let you down before. But the benefits to be gained from introducing technology into the classroom by far outweigh the risks! The opportunities to engage students with online games, interactive quizzes, videos and more are endless, so take the plunge and don’t let your fear stop you from exploring rich educational pastures new.

 

2. Thou shalt share with thy neighbour

The world of education technology is constantly evolving and new programs and resources are arriving on the scene every day. One of the best parts of getting into e-learning is the network of wonderful educators online who are ready to share tips and introduce you to fantastic new sites. Try tapping into the brilliant information available on Twitter using the #edtech and #elearning hash tags, and make sure you reciprocate by sharing any great resources you find too!

 

3. Thou shalt use many devices

Once you’ve started to explore the wide world of education technology, don’t stop there! Try moving on to different devices and find new methods of using your favourite websites- from iPads and apps to projectors and laptops, there are hundreds of different ways to access e-learning. Why not encourage your school to host a ‘bring your own device’ day where students can show how they use different kinds of technology for learning?

 

4. Thou shalt take safety precautions

The internet is a gateway to a wonderful new world of opportunities, but it also opens the door to some risks and dangers too, in the form of cyber bullying and internet fraud. So ensure that you have all the latest firewalls and digital safety measures in place before using computers with your class and make sure students are closely supervised at all times. There are lots of great websites available for exactly this purpose, where you can share online with your students in a safe, educational environment. Edmodo is a great one to try!

 

5. Thou shalt mix it up

It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of e-learning resources available, so some teachers who are new to education technology become quickly used to using just one or two familiar websites. Try not to let yourself get into a rut of using only a few resources – one of the best parts of e-learning is leaving your comfort zone and discovering new ideas!

 

6. Thou shalt not keep secrets

Don’t keep your e-learning to yourself! Some of the most successful schools share e-learning platforms and protocols across departments and year groups. Keeping your fellow teachers up-to-date with your techniques can allow you to coordinate tasks like collecting student assignments and entering grades to online databases like free online grade-book Engrade.

 

7. Thou shalt practice and prepare

If you still feel apprehensive about integrating education technology into your classroom, remember the old adage that practice makes perfect. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t explore the websites thoroughly yourself prior to the lesson, and run through the quizzes or presentations you intend to use with your students beforehand until you feel completely confident using all the features of each program.

 

8. Thou shalt keep careful records

There is nothing more frustrating than using a terrific website one day and not being able to remember the web address when you want to come back to it in the future. It is so easy to click through links from different pages and forget how you ended up on a particular site! So why not keep a database of your favourite e-learning sites and make sure you update it frequently so you never lose track of the best resources. Online bookmarking sites like Diigo and Delicious are particularly useful for this as they allow you to access your links from anywhere and on any device.

 

9. Thou shalt support thy students

Remember that not all students have the same level of technical know-how, especially if you are using school machines like iPads or working on operating systems that some pupils might not have experienced before. A common mistake in this Facebook world is to assume that the social networking generation can use computers before they can walk – don’t forget that some students may need extra support, and might be embarrassed about having to ask for it.

 

10. Thou shalt integrate thy technology in the classroom

Anybody can find good e-learning websites, but it takes a truly skilful teacher to properly integrate them into their lesson plan. Try to really combine your teaching techniques by learning about something in class and then using an online resource like That Quiz to test students’ knowledge, so the different aspects of the lesson fit well together.

 

What are your unbreakable rules for using edtech in the classroom? Let us know below!

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr, Sarah G…

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, pasukaru76

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  • Aliceevans18

    Really good tips, thank you! And a nice humorous twist too!

    • FractusLearning

      Thanks for the comment Alice! Nothing like a bit of humor to get a message across :)

  • Viktoriya-ostroverkh

    wonderful, great ideas and easy to understand. Thanks

    • FractusLearning

      Glad you liked it Viktoriya!

  • Camusci

    Great post! Thanks!

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  • http://twitter.com/drjwmarquis Dr. Justin Marquis

    Very inspirational Laura. I’ve built off of your idea on Education Unbound to modify your list to create 10 Tech Commandments for the Connected Learner: http://bit.ly/MOy4ax Hope you enjoy and thanks for the idea!

    • FractusLearning

      Great post Justin and thanks for letting us know. Really love the “digital” tablets :)
      Nick