Believe it or not, you’re already a month deep into the new school year. (I know!?) Fall break is on the horizon and it’s a good time for a quick tech check.
What’s a tech check, you ask? It’s a quick assessment of how your edtech is performing so far. Just like you provide your students with ongoing feedback and evaluation, you’ll give your classroom technology marks for how it’s doing.
Here are a few questions to ask as you adjudicate your edtech situation.
Is this product helping me reach my classroom goals?
A good edtech integration plan always sets a few goals. At the beginning of your program perhaps these goals are about student fluency in certain programs or benchmarks in the process for fully integrating the tech into your lesson. Whatever your goals are, a month in is a good time to ask yourself how close you are to reaching those results. If you’ve already hit them, maybe it’s time to make some more. If you’ve got a lot further to go, how will you get there in the coming months?
What’s my support situation like?
If you’ve had to use IT support - from your school or the company that creates the products you’re using - to set up and run your edtech, reflect on the experience. Were fast answers and solutions presented? Is this a level of support you’ll be glad to deal with for the rest of the year? Great support is a big reason to select a piece of edtech for your classroom. If your product or support structure isn’t getting top marks, where are other places you can go to find answers and ideas about working with your classroom technology? Social media? Colleagues?
What do my students think?
We’re just guessing that your students have already let you know what they think. But either way, do a quick check with them. What do they like and not like? How does it compare to other products they’ve used in school?
Have I been routinely engaging students with projects we couldn’t have done without this edtech?
We’ve written extensively about our views on modern edtech, and at the core of this is the idea that technology should allow you to do things in your classroom you couldn’t do with paper. It’s not a fun add-on or replacement that allows you to keep doing the same old. Edtech should be a vehicle to activities and connectivity that keep your class engaged, learning, and communicating. So. Is yours helping you do that?
Have learning gains increased?
Natural follow up here. In the end, it all comes back to the student experience. You can work in technology, but are there learning gains? If not - is that an indicator that the product is not a match for your classroom and students, or are there new ways to layer technology into your lesson to boost those outcomes?