Teaching with technology is not only a crucial aspect of my teaching philosophy, but a non-negotiable component of my learning style. As both a student and educator who learns best through auditory and visual means, but often finds standard textbook fonts too small for my comprehension, I have been utilizing EdTech--educational technology--since before I recognized the science behind the methods. Now that I am counting down until a classroom of my own, having the digital tools available for increased accessibility and engagement for my students is an absolute must.
Utilizing EdTech is not simply a matter of adding a digital tool into the classroom and wiping my hands in satisfaction for the day. EdTech for me begins from the start--or rather, from the end of the lesson. Backwards planning is essential to integrating EdTech. With a set plan of my summative assessment and standards for each unit, it is simply a matter of finding which tools work best for my students, and the outcomes I want to achieve. For me, adding in technology allows for student engagement and critical thinking in new and dynamic ways that standard direct instruction often falters in.
Making micro changes for adding in accessibility and engagement through EdTech is where I find the most impact in the macro comprehension for students. It can be as quick as:
Sometimes EdTech can be a bit more nuanced, and that is also just as effective. Depending on the unit type and subject, as well as keeping in mind the students' needs, including breakouts into the lesson may provide the mental and physical challenges to ignite their curiosity. Or, facilitating tutorials and walk-throughs for students in online dropboxes and applications, so they can document their work and record their knowledge progression throughout a unit, term, or course of study.
As an educator, EdTech opens my classroom up beyond the walls, and expands into vast, digital spaces that allow me to validate my students' interests in technology and then employ them in the classroom. EdTech allows a more engaging way to express the stakes of your education to students--utilizing tools they may be familiar with and simply changing the content from solely entertainment into educational. These micro changes result in macro changes for student comprehension in the long run once students recognize that their learning experience is being validated in a way that makes sense to them--whether that be 140 characters, an animation, or simply one of their favorite characters reading aloud to them.