Five tips for teachers wanting to work with classroom edtech

August 23, 2020

(Rabbi) Jonathon Simons has been working with classroom edtech for 7 years. A practicing teacher, he started Edtech Maven to help train teachers to integrate technology into their lessons in a meaningful way.

Five tips for teachers wanting to work with classroom EdTech: Part One

I started working with classroom EdTech about six years ago. I was originally given the responsibility of integrating technology into the classroom when I went to the Head’s office and mentioned that the small set of iPads we had were not being looked after. The response I received was not quite what I was expecting as I walked out with the aforementioned responsibility and a strong feeling that it was the job no-one else wanted to do.

I was absolutely terrified because although I had basic knowledge of computers and I used a smartboard, the idea of using technology in the classroom with the pupils was a totally new thing in our school.

Today I am grateful for having been coerced into doing it as it has helped me teach and connect with my pupils in a totally new and meaningful way.  I work in an Orthodox Jewish school where there was very little technology to begin with. But the advice I am sharing applies to all teachers. These five tips are not the only ones and are not in any order of importance, but they are a start and as we all know you must start somewhere.

  1. Remember it takes time– Rome was not built in a day. It will take you time to learn how to use the tool that you have chosen and there will be hiccups on the way. As a teacher you will need to get your head around how a particular app works. Sometimes you will spend time watching tutorials and seeing how an app is applied in the classroom before you start using it.   We all understand things at different speeds, but nothing is beyond you.
  2. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath waterYou are a talented teacher, you have a lot to bring to the table, it could be music, sewing or craft. Those also make meaningful contributions to your students’ education. My best memory in primary school was learning to embroider. In fact, I still have that piece of work some 30+ years later. Students need a well-rounded education which means having a bank of skills they can draw on given the situation they find themselves in. Your skills are just as important; do not let anyone tell you differently.
  3. Make a PLN which you can contribute to and on where you can ask your own questions. – A PLN stands for Personal Learning N As someone who is involved in technology, I have joined many. Every app has its own Facebook page with people that are willing to help and will respond quickly. There are many times I have had the CEO of a company reply to one of my questions which is an amazing and unprecedented thing to have such close communication with the people that are developing the product.
  4. Remember Technology is a tool – Sometimes old-fashioned pencil and paper is simply better. As we all know we would not bring a knife to a gunfight (probably not an appropriate analogy for education) there is simply no need to try to shoehorn technology into everything.
  5. Use your students to help you- Your students are your greatest asset. They are eager for you to use Technology as they really enjoy it  They will product test for you, show you how to use the deeper features of the app and present you with ideas on how to use the app appropriately in in the lesson. I have found as long I know the main functions of a product and can guide the students, then natural curiosity and creativity will do the rest! Your students will champion you to other members of staff and can really drive change in a meaningful way throughout school.

Well there you go; those are my first five tips for using classroom edtech.  This is an extremely exciting time for education, we need to embrace it. Looking forward to meeting you on your journey.

“ It will take you time to learn how to use the tool that you have chosen and there will be hiccups on the way.” (Rabbi) Jonathon Simons, EdTech Maven