This article is probably overdue, as we are already more than halfway through 2014. But as the school year is still fairly new, I thought it was worth addressing. As educators know already, the past five to ten years have created a sizable shift in technology, instruction, and the way students learn. As we have moved from an era of flip phones to carrying around small computers in our pockets, it is clear now more than ever, that technology changes have given us the ability to teach in ways we have never been able to before.
The difficulty is that we are also thrust in an age of confusion. There are so many new ways of integrating technology that the educational environment has become chaotic. Which new technology should schools buy? What trends do we listen to? Do teachers abandon old practice for something they are unfamiliar with only to find it doesn’t work?
The key thing teachers and schools need to remember is that change should not be something that is rushed into. We need to take advantage of the experience of others and the vast amount of research that has been done in terms of educational technology. A big fear is that technology is replacing teachers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although technology has changed, students will still need teachers as a guide, facilitator, and purveyor of learning. Not all of our students are technologically savvy or are as advanced as others in terms of content. Rather, technology now affords us the ability to differentiate education in ways that allows us to cater to the needs of all learners.
All this being said, I am using this soap box to pass on a few key information sources that can be valuable to teachers and administrators:
- New Media Consortium Horizon Report – This yearly report defines up and coming trends in technology for the next 1-10 years and the impact those changes will have on teachers, teaching, and education. Pay particular attention to page 6 covering teacher roles and page 32 covering important developments in technology for schools.
- Edutopia – Technology Integration – The George Lucas Foundation funds this website which focuses on providing best practices for educators. This specific link covers all articles on Technology Integration in the classroom. Everything from Differentiated Instruction to The Flipped Classroom can be found here.
- Google Educators of Oklahoma – Facebook – this facebook page was set up for teachers in our district to stay apprised of new changes to Google Apps for Education as we make the shift to Google. It was expanded to the state to allow anyone to keep on top of Google updates. Articles are curated from many sites around the globe.
- Edudemic – This site provides articles covering many different topics in education, most of which are related to technology integration.
- Sandite Exchange – PLCs – this in district site was developed for our teachers to share and exchange ideas. The PLC page, still in its infancy, is growing as we add more resources. If prompted to login, choose login as a guest.
Hopefully these resources help you and your fellow teachers in finding valuable resources regarding technology integration. As trends change, use these resources to stay on top of things.