It’s hard to continue to meet the needs of your students and community members with the same technology from year to year. Some of the biggest edtech companies release fabulous new features every July and August, but are you critically reviewing the technology and tools based on the unique groups of educators and students that gather in your schools every fall?
But it’s not your fault. The reality is that tens of thousands of dollars have been spent in year’s past to secure devices and subscriptions that, at the time, seemed absolutely necessary. And they were! But now, we have a growing problem on our hands.
Devices alone do not guarantee excellent teaching strategies and lesson design. So we have to talk about changes that CAN be made with the devices and tools we have access to.
And here’s why…
1. Classroom culture shifts every year.
New students, families, and teachers great each other at classroom doors every fall, and the potpourri of energy, dreams, fears, and hopes come together to create a whole new learning environment.
Some of my favorite educators consider the impact of space on the learners’ needs and understand this relationship on a fundamental level. Ben Cogswell of Alisal Union School District preps for his kindergarten students by reshaping his space on a budget.
By taking a step away from the tech to consider the space, we can create a whole new value proposition around the four walls of our classrooms.
2. Tools and solutions are improving every day.
I can’t say it enough… any online “device” that we are lucky enough to have in our classrooms can revolutionize your lesson. Yes, you have 3-year-old Chromebooks, but guess what? They can go online and STILL rock your little learners’ worlds.
Check out GEOGESSR — a super fun geography experience that turns the oldie (but goodie) Google Maps into an virtually automotive guessing game. Navigate, guess, and play your way into global discussions about environments and culture by leveling up yesterday’s tech with today’s solutions.
3. Students have new problems.
Our students enter campus highly stimulated — without a mental or physical break from the barrage of stressors and emotional triggers in life.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) needs to be highlighted as a core competency that each classroom teacher and administrator values. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a MUST KNOW ABOUT resource for all educators. It breaks down SEL into actionable chunks and you can connect with other educators who are engaging in the same initiatives.
SIDENOTE: I started following Tiny Buddha on Facebook about 6 months ago, and my feed is flowing with inspiring quotables that will add layers of LOVE and SUPPORT to your classroom community!
There are so many reasons for teachers and administrators to be PUMPED for this school year, but it’s up to each of us as individuals to sustain that interest when times get tough.
Most importantly, we get to go on this journey with each other. So get motivated, people!