It’s always been important for teachers to communicate, but never more so than since the boom in education technology and distance learning. Tech can both isolate us from one another and bring us together – but here are some important reasons why it’s more essential than ever for EdTech teachers to keep in touch, and keep talking…
Education technology brings a fabulous host of resources for teachers to use to brilliant effect in the classroom, but it also presents something of a logistical challenge – an absolute mountain of websites, blogs and lists and lists of brilliant new tools. The haystack of potential resources is so enormous that teachers can fritter away hours and hours just trying to find the elusive needle of exactly what they need to enrich their classroom curriculum – and teachers already have thin enough stretched schedules as it is.
But sharing resources by keeping in regular contact with other teachers can be a fantastic shortcut to the best, most effective new tools without having to trawl the web to weed out the good from the bad. This is particularly successful when teachers form networks with others who focus on similar subjects and year groups/grade levels, as they are most likely to benefit from similar resources. A great social network specifically designed for educators like Teacher Jotter is a great way to connect.
Finding the right resources isn’t the whole story, as any teacher who has experience of integrating technology in the classroom will already know. There is a world of difference between a teacher using a resource in a clunky, disconnected way and one who truly embeds it within the lesson plan and the learning experience –and it can make a huge difference to the impact it has for students.
So it’s not just useful new EdTech tools, but also helpful lesson plans to include them seamlessly within the teaching of the topic that teachers can benefit from sharing. This is especially helpful if you come across a brilliant new EdTech resource shortly before a lesson without adequate time to work out how to fully integrate it. Websites like Education World, with its focus on technology and its goldmine of lesson plans and ideas are a great place to start.
EdTech is an exciting and fast-evolving area. But it’s only as strong as its feedback and reporting mechanisms. Teachers need to communicate with one another to share ideas and information about what’s working, what’s useful in the classroom and what isn’t, so that the sector can self-regulate and evolve. One of the best ways to get involved in the ongoing conversation about education technology is to join one of the regular vibrant Twitter chats on the subject, using a hashtag like #EdChat.
The fantastic upside of education technology is the enormous and rich quantity of different resources out there to help students and make the learning process easier, faster and more successful. But the downside can be that each student works best and learns best with individual tools – and one size rarely fits all. One teacher might have time to research one or two tools, but in order to truly find the right education technology resources to benefit each of your individual students it can be hugely beneficial to share specific tool types with other teachers – from great apps to help reluctant readers to excellent tools for students who struggle with managing data.
What do you find most beneficial about communicating closely with other #EdTech teachers? Let us know in the comments box below!
Image courtesy of Flickr, bredgur.