Evaluating EdTech. Start with, “Why?”

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Technology can be intimidating.  There’s a seemingly endless supply of instructional technology available to a teacher today.  Each year, new engagement and assessment platforms, classroom management tools, and communication apps make their way to the market offering a better, faster, more intuitive, more personalized way of instructing our students.  This is certainly overwhelming.

 

Start with why.  Starting with why, will lead you through the “Hows,” and ultimately to the “Whats.”

Why do you need Platform X?  Ultimately, why will Platform X help children?  

 

Embedded in this are plenty of specific and deep questions to help you evaluate Platform X.  We’ll take a deeper look at this in another blog post.

My process consists of about four steps, outlined here.

 

 

  • Research
  • Explore (on my own),
  • Experiment (in the classroom) and
  • Reflect (and ask students)

 

 

I’m going for consistency and objectivity when evaluating programs side-by-side, but I think one of the most important factors is the student opinion of the edtech.  Finally, here is the link to a Google From that I use to evaluate technology using the same questions each time.  

Thanks for reading!  I’ll discuss more on this topic in the near future.

The Why?

The Why.

Why did I start a website and a blog?  There’s so much content on the Internet, does what I create matter?  Does my story, our story, matter?   It may not, but at the very least, it will serve as my opportunity for reflection, accountability, and my contribution to the profession of public education.

I’m writing to showcase the exciting work teachers and students do every day.  I am compelled to share my thoughts, ideas, and reflections on our work – in more than 140 characters.  I’m writing about my decisions and our collective decision making.  This is a process for reflection and to document our growth.  On this site, you’ll also find links to resources that I’ve created and that are worth sharing.  Thank you for visiting my site, reading, sharing your ideas and connecting.  As summer is fast approaching, this will serve as an opportunity for reflection on the school year and for sharing resources that I create.

These Walls Can Talk

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Dear Readers,

The blog explained.   In today’s socially connected sharing world, our walls figuratively talk.  In fact, we (collective society at large here) often “post” thoughts on our social media “walls.”  So, today, our walls sort of do “talk.”  Applying this thought and concept to our classrooms, have you ever thought to yourself, wouldn’t it be nice to be a “fly on the wall” and observe a class for the day?  To eliminate the wonder of how Mrs. Smith “does it.”  (Replace “it” with anything you’re curious about, i.e. engage her students, improve student achievement, manage a group of students, the list is almost infinite).  One of my ideas for topics and shared stories of this blog is to answer some of those questions and to ask those questions of others.  To showcase, to share, to reflect on what is happening in our classrooms and the amazing work of our teachers.  I consider myself a very reflective and analytical person, and I’m taking this opportunity (that we all have) to share via the Internet, in what hopefully amounts to a constructive and productive blog and website.

 This an examination of the art of teaching.  Growth mindset.  I and many administrators have the wonderful opportunity to visit classrooms each day.  This is an awesome opportunity to observe and reflect on teaching.  Many of us, including myself, often say something to the effect of, “I am a better teacher today because I’ve had the ability to visit so many classrooms and observe so many master teachers.”  I believe this to be true.  With the Internet giving everyone a voice and the opportunity to share and collaborate.  This is where I plan to share – to share ideas, content that I’ve created, instructional strategies, innovative ideas and practices, and celebrate the positive impact teachers have on our youth.  My hopes are that you’ll enjoy what you read, you’ll pick up a new idea, and we’ll start an intellectual conversation.  

Cheers,

Adam