The technology boom is quickly catching up with education. New educational technologies appear on the marketplace every month on top of the already existing and constantly improving methods. While every technology might seem appealing and applicable, it can be difficult to sift through them all and choose which ones to implement in your traditional or online classroom.
Ask yourself these five crucial questions when you explore the educational technology. These questions can act as a guide and support you in your efforts to find the perfect new tool for your course.
1. What problem does the new technology solve?
Each tool is made to solve a problem, never to reinvent the wheel. Since the field of educational technology is quickly growing, there are usually dozens of tools which seem very similar. If you can understand what issue the technology was created to solve, it can aid in your decision whether or not to implement it in your course.
Many companies publish articles, shoot videos, or host webinars explain their technology. Check out those resources to uncover the essence of every new educational technology.
2. Will this technology help my students?
Once you understand what a technology does, turn to see if it would benefit your students. For example, while a Prezi might be an excellent way for students in a history course to present their research, students in a computer science course might need to practice coding instead of explaining the concept.
Implement the technology only if the problem which it solves is one that your students have.
3. What type of assignments will be the most effective with this technology?
Just like each technology serves a specific purpose, each technology also has a best way for it to be used. Do not assume that an old assignment will be transformed for the better once paired with the new tool. Rather, adjust the assignment to work with the new technology.
For instance, if you will be implementing a collaborative research tool, consider changing the assignment type. Instead of requiring students to use their textbooks as the primary source, encourage them to pool online resources and take full advantage of the technology’s collaborative capabilities.
Review existing assignments to pinpoint learning objectives. Once those are clarified, pair the learning objectives with the new technology. In doing so, you will fully utilize the tool and effectively teach the learning objectives.
4. How should I teach my students about the new technology?
It is important to remember that your students will most likely be unfamiliar with this new method of instructions. Therefore, be sure to instruct your students in how to use the learning technology.
It might be helpful to link to the tool’s website or share videos which the company produced outlining how the tool works. Additionally, you can provide your own written explanation. Be sure to have a “practice assignment” so that students can familiarize themselves with the technology before they need to use it for credit.
5. Who should I ask for help about the new technology?
Ask your institution’s Instructional Designer for guidance regarding which technologies he recommends and how to best implement it. He can help you navigate which technologies will be best for your course and assist in the implementation of the tool.
What questions do you ask when you start using a new technology?