The accessibility of the technology tools and apps can be overwhelming for any teacher to choose. Picking the right app or tool that your students can easily navigate while driving home your lesson objectives. When you are selecting a tool take into consideration the following items:
Trying to get a handle on too many technologies causes unnecessary stress. Learning a digital instrument takes time and applying it as part of the lesson can range from an hour to a couple of days. Knowing if it will work smoothly during the class session. You also must provide secure and specific directions that you go over, demonstrate and have availability all semester. Having clear instructions that you review, model and have available all semester is helpful.
FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS
It can be tempting to get caught up in the list of features a technology tool provides and miss determining whether or not the educational goal will be met through its use. Choose a few tools at a time and try them out. Give them a test run to see which are the easiest to learn and use. Read the reviews to gauge whether they met the basics needs other customers and how likely will the product align your lesson goals. This method leads to the actual picking of the best tools that will serve your needs. The more you try out the tools, the easier it gets because you will know what you want. Move on to another if the app no longer meets your demands.
ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE
Take stock of the technology available in your class and on your campus. Knowing the technology capabilities determines in what capacity the app is useful. Also, you should find out what websites and apps your students used in the past. Be mindful of district firewalls, therefore check ahead if the technology is capable.
CONSIDER THE IMPLICATIONS OF WHETHER OR NOT TO PAY
As a teacher, the excitement of a new tool and the possibilities of enhancing your lessons is overpowering. Getting clear on how you intend to pay for them is crucial. Questions to ask yourself include are you willing to pay or go the free route? If you are ready to pay, who will be paying for the tool? What are the included features in the tech and how much of a difference does paying make? How does the company make their money and stay sustainable, when they give their tool away for free? Is there a potential for our students’ data to be the produce that is being bought and sold?
REVISE AND REFLECT
Go back to your goals and reflect on how well has the tool fulfilled your needs. How long and often is the app used? Do any problems arise while using the new tech? Remember, if it is not working well enough, you can pick another. Determine how it will be paid for – this reflection can reinforce the digital divide if we do not think carefully about who will bear the cost.
This section provides guidance on selecting technology. Sometimes, it can help to hear from someone’s individual experience. In this final part of the chapter, Elizabeth Reyes-Aceytuno shares her story of choosing tools that best fit her needs throughout the various roles in education she has held.