10. Make sure the technology works—and is easily available.
“Do everything necessary to make sure it works when they want to use it! It’s very frustrating to plan a lesson that includes technology, and then it fails to work when you need it.” —Jennifer Bova, director, OWL Teacher Center, Lindenhurst, N.Y.
“I think the biggest impediment to using technology for teachers is lack of access to effective tech tools. I am an ‘early adopter’ and also a ‘power user,’ but most of the tech tools I use in my classroom were purchased by me at my own expense, using money contributed by the law practice that I ran before I retired to become a teacher. Second, I think the software tools available to teachers are generally of pretty poor quality. For example, my school uses a popular grade book and attendance program that is garbage. It doesn’t allow teachers to access student data in hundreds of ways that could support more effective instruction. By way of comparison, in the late 1980s I was using litigation and law practice management support software on stand-alone DOS based computers that was easier and more intuitive than the software I have on my school computer today. Schools are spending small fortunes on technology tools that are broken, poorly designed, or simply not functional for things that teachers need to get done.” —Christopher Dahle, sixth grade math and science teacher, Ortega Middle School, Alamosa, Colo.