Did You Know? Tech Tips

As promised, today's blog post features three tech tips for you to add to your technology toolbox. On July 5, 2021, I featured some great FREE professional development options since so many tech tools are making changes. Today, I am going back to more traditional tech tips but these tech tips will focus on overall technology proficiency. Each tip gives you an overview of the tip with simple steps to get started on implementation. But as always, if you have any questions, just let me know.

Tech Tip #1: Teach your students icons

If you have read my book, TRANSFORM-Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky, or attended my Creating with Littles session, you know how passionate I am about teaching icon literacy. If this is new information for you, when I use the term, icon literacy, I am talking about explicitly teaching students what icons mean. Before we teach a teenager how to drive, we first have them take the written test so that they know what the road signs mean. By doing so, we give young drivers the cues so that they can successfully navigate roads. We need to do the same with our students- we need to teach our students what icons mean to better help them navigate a digital world.

How to get started: Identify some of the most commonly used icons with your students and teach them explicitly. Many programs now are very icon based such as Wixie, Flipgrid, and Padlet, Need some icons to get you started, you can get a year long educator membership to the Noun Project for just $19.99 at their website.

Tech Tip #2: Determine what your core tech tools are

You cannot use every tech tool out there! I repeat- you cannot use every tech tool out there! In my book, I talk about how I use a core group of tools- I call them TRANSFORM Tech Tools. Five of them I use regularly and the other five I use when needed. I have ten tech tools I rely on and I have intentionally chosen them because of their impact of student learning.

How to get started: Start with a few tech tools that you use often. Make a list. Identify which tools they are and most importantly, how do they impact your students' learning. Do they increase engagement? Do they give you more opportunities to give and receive feedback? Do they provide opportunities to do things that you could not do without the technology? Get really clear on why you are using them, before you do anything else. If one of those tools isn't serving your students, ditch it.

Tech Tip #3: Less is More

When planning a lesson with technology, do not add every cool tech tool. You should always start with the learning goals in mind and then see how a tech tool could benefit the lesson. Too often, educators try to add too many tools at once. Using technology effectively is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Like a marathon, you don't go run it at first. You build up gradually and strategically. You need to do the same integrating technology tools.

How to get started: Look at your existing lessons. Are there times where students need additional handles to hold onto the learning or you sense a need such as lack of engagement? Determine that need first and then look to see if a tech tool could help you meet that need? Need more help, I would love to set up a FREE consultation to help you get started.