Anyone heading back to a classroom next fall that has shiny new devices? That’s huge. Whether it’s a new device cart, iPads, or Chromebooks for your kids, you have a staggering amount of new options for lessons, classroom logistics, and interactive projects.
We want you to be successful. We want to see your devices do more for your classroom. And we’d love to help. Below are three quick, big-picture ideas compiled from our teacher friends using Chalkup. Key stuff to keep in mind as you dive in.
And if you’re looking for more hot tips for device users, browse our list of apps to try before the school year begins.
Have a Goal in Mind
When you set up a device program for your school we hope you talked through major goals. Why add the devices, specifically? (FYI - “Because we can” or “Because devices are good” are not real reasons.)
Do you want to support students’ exposure to different types of tech and fluency in different programs they will encounter in the real world? Do you want to zero in on a classroom’s ability to stay in touch after class, using your device program as a way to support 24/7 learning initiatives? Does your device program seek to provide classroom experiences you could not provide without phones or tablets or laptops?
If you have a goal in mind, it will be that much easier to figure out how classrooms will be impacted and how teachers should approach classrooms that now have a mobile learning component.
Research an LMS, Apps to Make the Most of Mobile
Mobile learning programs don’t start and end with the device program. The software you pair with your device will impact your ability to fulfil tech goals. (So don’t skimp on the LMS research and/or budgeting.)
A few quick considerations. First, if adopting a school-wide LMS, it’s imperative to include teachers in the selection, roll-out, and professional development/training of the program. Instructors will be the ones using these programs with students every day.
Next, do a solid check on just how collaborative your chosen software is. While there are plenty of one-off apps and programs that can be used in classrooms to serve specific needs, anything you unveil as a school-wide solution for managing coursework and keeping in touch - presumably an LMS - should prioritize functions that keeps classes talking after class.
Features you should look for? We’d recommend starting with student and teacher messaging, rich classwide discussion functions, and mobile versions of these features. We’ll assume students and teachers alike will need something that transitions easily between desktop and mobile.
For the Admins: Empower Teachers
Rolling out devices without guidance or training for teachers is - for lack of a better word - really uncool. Don’t do that. This is a time to empower instructors to pursue uncharted territory in their classrooms, leveraging digital resources and building experiences for students that they otherwise could not have.
Sending instructors into the classroom without information on how others have found success with devices will take time away from all the good stuff tech can do and replace it with extra startup time. Testing additional programs and lessons. More time digitizing paper-based processes instead of finding new experiences for students that can't be accomplished with paper.
Presenting instructors with software/app ideas that pair well with the devices you’ll be using in your school is a good starting point. Find time for teachers to test drive these recommended programs. Identify those instructors who can help you continually find new and exciting programs and serve as a faculty leader, offering recommendations and tips to those less comfortable with classroom tech. (We’ve written about this a lot - we like to call them “superusers” or “superteachers.”) And keep talking with them all year to gauge how it's going.