Teachers who love technology (like we do!) always want to learn about the next best—and most useful—thing. Whether it be a burgeoning LMS, a free game site with built-in analytics, or an app students can use for creative projects, within the booming edtech world it can be difficult to wade through the tedium to get to the truly fantastic. So, we’ve developed some tips for keeping up with edtech without tearing your hair out in the process.
2. Keep an ongoing LIST of new apps, programs and resources you hear about. Give some description after each listing so you can remember, generally, the purpose it serves. (Some of our favorites are: Zaption, Zeal, Formative, BrainRush, DragonBox, NOVA Elements App, GoodReader, Duolingo, and ClassDojo to name a few.) Make the list in Googledoc for collaborative input.
3. KEEP your entire team WORKING on research and testing new technology that is available. Organize a task list and be systematic about testing for maximum efficiency.
4. CONNECT WITH OTHERS – Keep an open dialogue with your team and with your personal learning network. What’s working and what is not? Some top hashtags to follow on Twitter are: #edtech, #edchat, #elearning, #ipadchat, #flipclass, #flippedclassroom, #iPadEd, #EdApps, #iPadClassroom and #mlearning.
5. Go with the “DOES IT STICK?” approach. After your team starts testing something, ask yourself: “does it stick”? If it stays on your radar, it’s probably worth keeping. If not, dump it and move on.
6. COMPARE AND CONTRAST… given there are so many apps and services now that serve similar purposes, choose the top two or three and test those against one another. Have one of your employees try one and another employee try the other. Have them take notes and then at the end, collect your team, compare the two and decide which to go with for the time being (A great general resource is the EdSurge EdTech Index which offers a multitude of categories and suggestions).
7. DON’T MIX testing and what your company is currently using at the time. Implement after testing and decisions are made.
8. BE OPEN TO CHANGE – keep your eyes and ears open to what may be new, better, etc. If you stick with a given piece of tech for too long, you may find yourself quickly outdated and unfamiliar with new stuff that’s out there.
9. STEP BY STEP is the way to work through all the new ed tech options otherwise you could just feel completely overwhelmed and do nothing.
10. ENJOY THE PROCESS – Remember to enjoy the process! This should be fun, right?? Don’t get bogged down feeling it’s tedious work.
So… how do you keep up? Write a comment below!