March 23, 2017
7 Essential Ed-Tech Guidelines for the Plugged-In School
Having educational technology in your school is a great idea. Its usefulness and capacity for alignment is undeniable. So much is happening with ed-tech in education nowadays. If you are utilizing it in your own schools, hats off to you. You also know that a solid list of ed-tech guidelines is crucial to your efforts.
Here are 7 useful ed-tech guidelines for your plugged-in school. Chances are you practice these diligently already. If so, let them be a reminder you're on the right track. If these are new ideas for you, consider them carefully.
1. Align With a Purpose
It's easy to get caught up in the novelty of technology. Everybody does it, including schools. Sometimes the aim is to be "modern" and "up to date" with tech. The problem is, without purpose there is no direction. Without direction, there is no point to the process.
You can spend lots of money on technology very quickly. With no plan for implementation or usage, it takes up space. This happens both in the school and in your budget. It's a recipe for disappointment and disaster. Consider carefully how ed-tech will align with your learning objectives. Also consider the skills of teachers and students.
This will help you make the best choices for your school and budget. This article from EdTech Review explains a bit more.
2. Honour Your Guidelines
Any school infused with ed-tech can't support its infrastructure without rules. This means guidelines and acceptable use agreements must be used and adhered to. How do you deal with the rules being broken or tech being misused? What about loss and theft?
Such things are unpleasant to think about. Unfortunately they are a trade-off for the benefit of having technology in schools. If the rules are logical, sensible, and fair, fewer misdemeanours are likely to occur.
3. Keep It Simple (But Effective)
Things can get complicated fast with technology. You want to make sure all the bases are covered. Too much of a good thing is possible, though. In the race to meet every individual need you can overspend, overcompensate, and go overboard.
Don't make any ed-tech program complicated. One of the most useful ed-tech guidelines to follow involves simplicity. Find ways to streamline your technology experiences. Update as much as you can to newer stock that takes up less space. Consider recycling or donating ed-tech you don't use anymore.
4. Keep Up With Professional Development
Introductory how-to sessions are a given. They're just the beginning, though. Continuing creative instruction in ed-tech is a must. Educational technology is constantly changing and evolving. Teachers must receive up-to-date instruction and refresher sessions.
Dynamics are also important here. Find ways to explore what the technology can do. The basics have already been covered, so stretch creatively with technology. Strive to always surprise and delight students with new and compelling ed-tech projects. There are new ways to integrate it with lessons cropping up all the time.
5. Monitor Your Maintenance System
It's technology you work with, and things will go wrong. In fact, it will happen a lot more than you expect. Are you equipped with experts on your team to handle crises? It's always a good practice to have experienced technical staff on hand. Prepare for the worst but strive for the best.
You'll need people who can troubleshoot problems and instruct people when needed. All your tech will need to be regularly maintained or repaired. If you are lending it out, be sure to keep track with an ordered system. This encourages accountability and responsibility from everyone.
You may already have tech gurus in your midst. Consult with teachers, parents, and even students. You may receive offers for people to volunteer their experience and time. This can save you money and headaches.
6. Have a Solid Digital Citizenship Program
No set of ed-tech guidelines would be complete without this one. With technology in schools, we must always practice good digital citizenship. We wouldn't hand our car keys to a young person who couldn't drive. Our duty is to show students how to keep safe on digital highways.
A digital citizenship program works with technology to help students be responsible and mindful. It teaches students responsibility for themselves and others in online environments. Awareness of the dangers lurking online become second nature. It also shows students how to search for and share information ethically.
7. Look Back While Moving Forward
With educational technology, debriefing sessions will be important. It's like any other assessment practice. The intervals which you review your tech experiences are your choice. You look back on what you learned, and see what you missed. You find out how to improve constructively. You discard the irrelevant and keep what's useful. The point is, you look back only long enough to figure how to move forward.
Following these useful ed-tech guidelines can mean the difference between struggle and success with educational technology. How are you getting on with ed-tech?