So how do you use technology? And how do you know you are using it in a meaningful way? From integrating technology in teaching, to using technology to manage data or drive decision making as a leader, what matters most is this: good practice comes first, technology second.

So are you using technology in a meaningful way to enhance teaching?

Let’s face it, ‘edtech can sometimes be gimmicky and only adds a level of fanciness without enhancing student learning,’ shares Mohamed Elashiry, MiniPD Coach. Dr. Liz Kolb, author of Learning First, Technology Second in Practice (2017), says about 80% of apps are simply drill and kill apps, where an over reliance on these implies a danger to what should be taking place – good instructional practice. MiniPD Coaches, specialists in edtech, and tech integration share some pro-tips below:

Ioanna Karariga, MiniPD Coach, recommends,:

  • Make your classroom an active learning space, where the roles of experts and learners are constantly interchanging. Give them plenty of opportunities to teach others in the classroom, the school, the community, and the world. Use technology as means for communication and inspiration. 
  • Adopt active learning strategies. Retrieval practice, spacing and interleaving. Use technology tools to help you manage the logistics.’ 

Read more In her blogpost, The Knowhow Classroom.

Mihai Catrinar, MiniPD Coach, in his article on blended learning iterates key points,:

  • ‘Technology (should  be) leveraged intentionally to restructure the classroom to increase student involvement, engagement, and input. If we get caught up in the tools, we miss the point: blended learning is about plain good teaching and making the most out of our online and face-to-face teaching environments.’ 
  • ‘When teachers use applications in the classroom, they may increase student engagement and efficiency to a certain level. However, this is not blended learning, just as using tools such as Kahoot or online quizzes to generate students’ responses are not either. If we take answers and post them in an online environment, students interact and collaborate by providing peer feedback that is blended learning.’

Read more in his blogpost, Learning with Technology: Blended Learning

Christophe Gigon, MiniPD Coach, asks us to,: 

  • ‘Consider the workflow. He recommends iPads as a great teaching tool. He explains, ‘They free away the teachers from their screen and keyboard, they enable them to move around the room and interact with the students while teaching. 
  • ‘Use mindmaps to schematize the concepts to help retention of knowledge and clarify the different aspects of a culture. He recommends Framindmap and Drawings by Google.’

Read more in his blogposts, Upscaling Technology, What’s Next? and  Can Mindmaps be Useful in Teaching Languages?

Brad Opfer, MiniPD Coach, says, 

  • ‘Online learning prepares our students for success in today’s world…we would be doing a disservice to our students, if we did not at least offer some online learning given all of the amazing resources and possibilities it provides.’ Using technology to bridge the real world is crucial

Read more in his blogpost, 3 Myths of online Learning

Mohamed Elashiry reminds us that, 

  • The teacher is the most valuable resource that students have, and to ‘focus on a few tools that truly engage students and enhance their learning.’ 

So how do you know you are using technology in a meaningful way?

Technology should be a value added in a lesson, to engage students and to enhance teaching and student learning. 

Hattie’s VisibleLearningMetax.com is a powerful tool that every educator should have bookmarked on their device of choice; using Hattie’s metadata to intentionally reflect on your own practice and use of technology is a great research-based place to start.

We also recommend using a technology integration framework to reflect and self-assess your use of technology. There are multiple frameworks you can choose from, such as the SAMR model, The Triple E Framework or TPACK.

Chris Hayden, MiniPD Coach, recommends The ‘4 shifts Protocol’. He says,

  •  ‘The ‘4 shifts’ refers to promoting/developing deeper thinking & learning, authentic work, student agency & personalization and technology infusion. The protocol is exceptional in its ability to guide technology integration along these lines and in meaningful ways that have immediate practical impacts on lessons, units and culture…giving teachers a practical approach to technology integration that focuses on many of the same teaching practices that IB seeks to develop.’

Read more from Chris’ bite-size pro-tips in Skilling Up with Tech

Consider how these bite-size pro-tips and recommended tools from Chris and other tech specialists, MiniPD Coaches, can meet your lesson learning goals and enhance your teaching.

So let’s finally dip into good practice when using digital data.

To what extent are you applying best practices when using digital data? 

With an upsurge in online learning, we now have a greater reliance, more than ever, on digital content. So how do you use software for improving teaching or for school improvement? How do you use technology to manage data, or analyse data to drive well-informed decisions? To what extent do you consider data reliability and validity? 

In his blog post on Data Management, Adam Morris, Schools Technology and Integration Director for Faria Education Group, provides essential points to consider for school leaders. He says, ‘when it comes to data management, identifying the properties of what constitutes good data is the first step.’ He highlights the main concepts around what is good data:

  • accessible 
  • precise
  • valid 
  • complete 
  • timely 
  • consistent 
  • trustworthy

Another best practice Adam asks us to consider is that of adhering to the single source of truth principle. He writes, 

  • ‘The principle is about ensuring that there is only one location for updates of certain data points to occur.’ He highlights that, ‘If there is only one location for certain data points to be updated, and the rest of the data simply updates itself based on that source, either overnight or after a few hours, the result is that all of the data are now “in sync.”

Education Technology is to be embraced. So we leave you with a final question, what action might you take now to put best practices first, rather than technology?

Join the Conversation

We invited educators from around the world to join us in a Coaches-in-Conversation on Skilling Up with Tech in January 2022.  We invite you to join this conversation with us:

Wanting to further the conversation?  

Needing a thought partner? A critical friend? Schedule one-to-one coaching sessions with any of our inspirational MiniPD Coaches above about areas that can support you to drive engagement in your classroom with your students!

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