EdTech Starters

Robin Phares

Robin Phares, Technology Integration Specialist

It is OK, and expected, that educators today turn some class control over to students. It’s a magical moment when you stand back and realize learning is happening when students are in control. Educators fear unproductive classroom time and losing control, especially when the tiniest tech malfunction can possibly lead an entire class into chaos. Therefore teachers are often afraid and reluctant to use technology in their classrooms.

To integrate technology into the classroom, teachers must feel comfortable with technology. My job as an Integration Specialist is to provide ongoing training opportunities for teachers and ways to collaborate, and model what they’ve learned in their classrooms. Many times my training opportunities are 15-minute faculty meetings. That is not long enough. It’s helpful for teachers to have an independent learning plan, too. It sounds like a daunting task; however it is manageable, useful, and enjoyable.

Hunting for ideas and ways to begin?

1. Do a quick hunt in your building; you might be surprised what you’ll find.

I recently found ten sets of Promethean ActivExpression devices in our tech closet. I had never used them, but I had seen an ActivClassroom at the Ron Clark Academy YouTube Video that featured the ActivExpression. That led me to do a search for how to use ActivExpression online. My search returned 5,550 hits. It took me a little while to find the right fit, but I did find a great site that taught me everything I needed to know about the devices. My tech closet search turned into a goldmine.

Please check ClassFlow for more tech hunting possibilities.

2. Find some blogs to follow.

Here are my top five blogs to read every day:

Free Technology for Teachers

Purely Paperless

The Daring Librarian

Cool Cat Teacher

Teacher Tammy’s Technology Tips for Teachers

3. Try searching for lessons and activities.

For instance, if you search for Pythagorean theorem interactive lessons, at least 1,850,000 sites will be returned. When I searched for English Language Arts (ELA), the search returned 29,700,000 sites, and of those, about 2,530,000 were ELA middle school related hits. Being more specific in a search can increase the number of hits that are most applicable. You will certainly have more new and interactive lesson ideas.

It’s a start.

Traditional roles of teachers and administrator have and will significantly change. Teachers are charged with understanding and assuming the role of guide vs. leader. While as educators, it is an honor to be part of these teaching changes, they do no happen overnight. Educators will need to develop independent learning plans and learn to search out more of the good information already out there, and in a short time, possibly add to it.

Add to these suggestions in the comments below.

About the Author:
Robin Phares is Technology Integration Specialist at Edgewood City Schools, Trenton, Ohio.

2 Comments on this post.
  • Vicki Davis
    9 January 2014 at 11:10 am -

    Wow, Robin! Thank you so much for including me on your list! What an honor!!! I totally agree that there are always things you can find in the “tech closet.” It is all about finding what teachers can use and doing some research.

    • robin.phares@edgewoodschools.net
      9 January 2014 at 11:22 am -

      WOW! I am so honored that you, Ms. Vicki Davis, have read something I have written. I have been a fan of yours FOREVER! You are amazing and have inspired me for many years. Thank you.