7. Build Professional Learning Networks. Encourage teachers to broaden their knowledge base and connections with others inside and outside of your building and establish collaborative teams (utilizing Twitter, PLCs, Google+, etc.). Use opportunities to teach staff how to best use Twitter and other tools to learn about areas of interest, and building their learning network beyond the schoolhouse.
8. Ask the Tough Questions. Compare/Contrast an iPad, Laptop, or Chromebook to a pencil. Is this used because students are engaged or is it truly being used as a tool for learning? Is the technology an add-on or a non-negotiable for this task? Which tool works best? As with anything,children must use the right tool for the right situation.
9. Categorize. Just like using a media center, children need to be taught and begin to learn when to use the appropriate application to meet the expectations of the activity they are working on. For example, creation tools: iMovie, Google Docs, PicCollage; or organizational tools: Google Drive, Evernote, Padlet. Every tool is not appropriate for every task.
10. Let Teachers Visit Teachers. Allow time for teachers to watch model tech use in action. This not only strengthens the learning culture of a school, but it also allows teachers to see how their colleagues may be using a technology tool or management of technology in a creative way.
Jen Sieracki is Math/Science Facilitator, and Raymond Giovanelli is Principal at Grand Oak Elementary in Huntersville, NC. They are active members of Discovery Education’s Discovery Educator Network (DEN), a global community of educators that are passionate about transforming the learning experience with digital media. This is the first in a series of articles from DEN members.
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