Technology is one of the fastest changing fields in history. Devices, programs, and education methodologies surrounding tech change dramatically from year to year, which can make it challenging to devise a technology integration plan that is safe, cost-effective, and educationally valuable. To do this, it is necessary to first focus on student and device safety, find adaptable ways to integrate technology into the classroom, and consider applications independent of hardware and infrastructure that may benefit students.
Student and Device Safety
Any technological device that is brought into the classroom should be protected from the students and should protect students from outside influences which may be detrimental to the learning process.
Physical and system protection can be provided in the form of iPhone cases, antivirus software, routine operating system and software updates, secure internet connections, surge protectors, and appropriate caring cases. This takes a dedicated IT team for each school district with people available in each school to maintain systems and physical components.
Protecting students from outside influences can be more challenging due to the advanced technological expertise of the current generation of students. However, there are safeguards that can be put into place that will prevent them from accessing particular websites or groups of websites with proper software management.
It is almost impossible for any one person to be aware of all the latest technological advances that can be powerfully utilized in a classroom setting. The emergence of affordable 3D printers has revolutionized the way students can interact with every subject. Yet, many teachers are completely overwhelmed with the possibilities and are unsure of how to best use the printers in their own curriculum.
In order to make use of the newest technology, schools may want to consider technology ambassadors or a technology chair for each department or grade level depending on the organizational structure of the school. These are people who can make finding and implementing new technology a priority within their discipline. Using the 3D printers as an example, a history chair may recommend each history teacher have students print replicas of artifacts from specific time periods. Whereas someone who was the head of the 8th grade department may create a thematic unit and make suggestions for how each subject area can utilize the 3d printing capabilities.
Social Media Possibilities
Social media has the advantage of being cloud based, free, and something most students are already using on a regular basis. It is a great way to connect with parents and keep them informed of class projects and progress and to get students more excited and engaged. It also teaches students how to use these networks in a productive, responsible, and safety conscious manner which are skills many are sorely lacking.
Some teachers have found a way to utilize Twitter to encourage students to share their literary habits with a broader audience without sacrificing their privacy. Others create Facebook groups for parents or for specific classes to share online resources and access course material and extras with the documents and video options. Most major social media platforms have the ability to create private groups that are only accessible with an invitation. This helps protect student privacy and keep the content secure.
Technology doesn’t have to be an intimidating roadblock in the path of education. It needs to be embraced on all levels and areas in order to ensure students are fully prepared to maximize the use of technology in their daily lives and for the rest of their educational careers.
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About the Author: Jenna B.
Jenna is a freelance writer who got into blogging in college and copywriting upon graduation. Jenna has usually written about topics that mean a lot to her such as health and medicine when applied to family and loved ones. Jenna is an avid runner as long as it’s not a marathon distance jog! She’s on twitter (she still hasn’t fallen in love with and doesn’t use often) @JennaFromDaBlog!