It’s not enough to simply layer technology on to a lesson plan and expect student performance to improve on its own. There’s some risk involved when taking your technology innovation to the next level, but the impact on student engagement and learning can be immense when technology is used in creative and innovative ways.
The very sound of the word risk probably has you ready to exit stage left. Don’t panic. Introducing some risk doesn’t mean you have to run for the hills. Here are some simple steps you can take to incorporate technology into your lesson plan in meaningful ways.
Start with one
Instead of trying to revamp your entire lesson plan all at once, start small. Choose one week of your lesson plan to tackle first without even thinking about what’s to come later on down the line.
Outline learning objectives
This is a step you’ve probably already taken because learning objectives are typically a part of lesson plans. But go one step further. Think about the learning objectives and how technology can enhance the student experience. Identify objectives that might be better illustrated with the use of technology.
Dig into your tools
Here’s where the fun happens. Sift through your digital options. If your school already has platforms in place, start there. If not, browse the web for free tools like YouTube videos, mobile applications, and even Google Apps. Be careful not to simple throw anything into the mix. Be very mindful and prescriptive with the technology you use, making sure to pair it properly with learning objectives.
Consider your students
Before you marry your lesson plan to any technology, consider your students’ aptitude with the platform, app or tool. Will they also have the tools to complete assignments outside of the classroom? These are just a few questions you should ask yourself before you commit fully to the digital tools you’ve identified.
Work it in
Once you’ve addressed student learning curves, it’s time to add the technology to your lesson plan. Again, be careful not to simply add the technology as a line item. If it’s a video, think about how many times students should watch the video. If it’s a personalized mobile app for extended practice, identify how much time students should spend in the app each day. Integration takes a bit of an effort to ensure your students realize the positive impact of any new technology.
Evaluate and start again
Every aspect of learning is ultimately about assessment. When you’re becoming a technology risk-taker, evaluating your progress (or lack thereof) is just as important as taking the risk in the first place. Try not to fall into the habit of rinse and repeat. Take opportunities to assess what is working and what isn’t working for you and also for your students.