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How To Start Actually Looking for New EdTech This Summer (in Seven Steps)

Jayne Miller wrote this on Jun 7, 2016


What’s your summer to-do list look like?

It’s funny how our lists seem to sprout overnight; suddenly summer is packed with professional development, research, project building, and major classroom feng shui.

Researching and piloting new technology often finds a home on these summer to-do lists.

This little bullet point - “edtech search” - combines our attempts to keep up with new platforms and update our classrooms while discovering tools that will support interesting projects next term. It’s researching and testing. It’s big-picture thinking about what you want to do in your classroom - or your school. It’s training on tools that fit the bill.

We’ve got seven steps to ensure your edtech search actually gets crossed off your list this summer.

PS: We're building a platform that makes learning social and collaborative. Click here to learn more.  

1. Tech Check Your Classroom

Start at square one with an honest assessment of how technology has - or hasn’t - supported your classroom over the last year.

Before running wild with test accounts, demos, and pilots, get a sense of what you’re looking for. Are you solving a specific problem? Are you just getting a sense of other opportunities you could provide your classroom with edtech? Are you doing an overhaul of your tech setup? Give yourself a touch of direction before forging ahead.

2. Assess Where Your School is At

Next, orient your classroom within the context of your school. Is your school searching for a school-wide tech solution that will impact your classroom? Are you part of that process? Are you doing a tangential search for tools that would compliment school-wide solutions? Or is it every man for himself tech-wise?

Not the worst idea to touch base with your school’s technology administrator about what direction your school is headed tech-wise before you roll up your sleeves and start edteching it up.

3. Look at These Five Websites

You’re ready to start reading reviews and recommendations for new tools. We’ve discovered tools and trends via these five sites. Hope you will, as well.

4. Journal it Out

One of the best things you can do while playing with edtech for the next school year is to track your reaction to tools. This can be a simple Google Doc with fast and furious notes about what you liked and didn’t like. It can be something more thorough. Your call.

You’ll thank yourself three months from now when you’re trying to recall your experience with tools to colleagues and find yourself straining to remember the details.

5. Use Your PLN

Sidebar step here: take time to use your personal learning network in your search. You can lean on social media for recommendations or opt to test tools alongside colleagues (like a techy book club).

This is what your PLN is for. Tap their experience and observations to inform your search. Share your notes. Share your wins. 

Side note, check out this resource we've built for teachers on social media

6. Develop Use Cases for Your Findings

After you’ve developed some preferences, take some time to walk through the particulars. We like to recommend that users think about the use cases - how tools would actually be applied to their classrooms.

You might have already covered this during your note taking; if not, go back and think about how to apply your favorite tools. What learning gains would be supported? What problems would these platforms solve? How would it fit with other tech used by your school? And, oh how is the technology smarter than doing the same thing on paper?

7. Make a Plan, Report Back

Last, but not least, set some actionable steps for going back to school. This could be a conversation with your technology administrator or getting started with your class on day one. It could be bringing the tools you’ve discovered to a personal development session.

If you're ready to report to your tech team at your school, here's a pre-built email you can send to your technology director to get the ball rolling. 

Before you cross the edtech search off of your summer to-dos, ensure that there is a clear path to implementation and anything awesome you’ve uncovered is promptly shared with others who might benefit. 

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Topics: Teachers, Administrators, EdTechUpdate