3 Questions that Help You Find the Perfect Technology Tool

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3 Questions that Help You Find the Perfect Technology Tool

By Beth K. Johnson

You’re a great teacher. You have an idea and are enthusiastic about trying a new technology tool with your upcoming unit. You plan carefully, the excitement building as you begin to research which tool you might use, and it all fades away as you are completely overwhelmed with your countless possibilities. Finally you decide to just leave everything the way it is and walk away.

Scenarios like this play out on a day-to-day basis in classrooms. What to use and how to use technology tools sometimes overtakes the initial excitement and it becomes too overwhelming to choose. A teacher can easily sift through the tools out there with these easy reflection questions and find the perfect tool to enhance their instruction.

Need the perfect technology tool? Ask these 3 questions.

1. What am I teaching my students to do? Instruction has to drive technology choices. Teachers have to identify what they want their students to accomplish before choosing the appropriate technology tool. If students are learning how to write collaboratively, then teachers shouldn’t pick a tool that requires them to create pictures. Likewise, if a teacher wants the students to showcase their understanding of art, they shouldn’t pick a tool that inhibits creativity.

2. Does this technology really enhance my students’ understanding? It’s easy to compartmentalize instruction using technology, but it’s important to involve tech tools seamlessly with most activities. Technology tools help enhance students’ understanding by setting them up to explore what they’ve learned in a new way. Tools also give students a chance to carefully think through all of the content they were taught in order to strategically place that information in ways that the tool allows. This gives the students the ability to become thoughtful and creative thinkers of the content.

3. Do my students already know how to use the tool? This question can save teachers a huge amount of instructional time because many students may already be using the tool or something similar in other classes. Students might also already be using it in their personal time. If they are, then adding this tool to your instruction will be seamless. If they are not familiar with the tool, then that’s oaky too, just make sure to add some tutorials into your instructional time.

There are probably many other questions to add to this list. These 3 questions, though, are a great place to start as teachers try to find the perfect technology tool. And when the search gets overwhelming, remember to visit any of the myriad sites that offer help with technology tools.

Beth K. Johnson is a former 8th grade teacher, who coaches teachers to use technology in their classrooms every day for an Oklahoma school district. Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethiejq

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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