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Focusing on the Essentials of EdTech for Technology Integration

When it comes to technology integration, there are a few ways to simplify how you use digital tools in the classroom and focus on what’s important. As an edtech and curriculum consultant, host of the Easy EdTech Podcast, the voice behind ClassTechTips.com, and an author for ASCD, Monica Burns, Ed.D., shared her unique insights.

Monica Burns, Ed.D.

Host, Easy EdTech Podcast, Founder, ClassTechTips.com and Author, ASCD

What are some trends you have seen in professional learning and education technology throughout the pandemic?

Professional learning has made significant shifts this year. As someone who has spent much of the past few years running through airports in between facilitating workshops at schools, the shift to virtual was quick but I believe is here to stay as a hybrid model. 

Professional learning around technology integration requires coaching, feedback, and opportunities to try, regroup, and reflect. One common thread in the virtual professional learning I’ve led is more time allocated for follow-up as opposed to a one-time workshop.

What are the top ways technology has made education simpler for both students and teachers?

Organization: When using a platform or central hub, organizing content for students so it’s easy for them to find and use can make the process of distributing resources to students simpler.

Differentiation: When distributing content to students, differentiated resources that are high-interest and at an appropriate instructional level for students are available on many different platforms, and can be shared with specific students or small groups in online spaces.

Assessment: When checking for understanding, tools that capture student voice recordings, like Flipgrid or Seesaw, can help teachers hear from more students, including students who might struggle to share in more traditional ways.

How do you create an engaging learning experience through technology to meet the needs of your students?

Creating relevant learning experiences for students can help them engage in academic content. This could include providing options for them to create short vertical videos (like the ones featured on TikTok) to give a summary of a book they’ve read, or creating graphics (like the visuals on Instagram) to share a lab safety tip when they prepare for a science experiment.

What tips and advice do you have for educators handling distance or hybrid learning through the pandemic?

One of my biggest tips is to “embrace your place;” take a look at the central hub or platform a school or district has asked you to use, like MS Teams, Schoology, or Google Classroom. Look for activities that compliment a space you already use instead of asking students to log in to multiple places or jump around from tool to tool. As you and your students begin to build confidence and proficiency in one space, then it might be time to layer on a new tech-friendly learning activity.

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