Pairing Best Practices of Teaching with Technology

A successful classroom can be determined by the accomplishments of its students. Evaluators will observe a class, review lessons with the educator and discuss tools that can be utilized to enhance the skill at hand, but until the members of the class have successfully completed the task and proved their knowledge gained, the lesson isn’t a success.

How do we make the horse drink from the fountain of knowledge?

Throughout different decades this question has been answered in different ways. From traditional teachings of sitting in rows to today’s world of various furniture and seating arrangements. One thing has held true is that collaboration, manipulatives and physical movement enhance learning. Pupils of any age aren’t meant to sit still. The only difference of teaching an elementary class and a graduate level class how to use a new software program that will be used to develop games is the age of the students and language being used.

When you plan an effective lesson, there are things that need to be in place:

  • Clear expectations
  • All materials ready before the activity begins
  • Time frame to complete the activity
  • Rubric if it’ll be graded
  • Discuss the end goal-what will be accomplished

How can the marriage of best practices of teaching live happily ever after with technology?

  • Follow the steps above
  • Display a completed final project
  • Make sure the students know HOW to use the software, website or tool you’ll be using
  • Make sure YOU know how to use the software, website or tool you’ll be using
  • Call on volunteers
    • While teaching 3rd grade 9 years ago, a PowerPoint was the culminating project to an animal unit. Each group was given a packet that described the minimum contents of each slide. They could add other items if they desired. Groups were created and knowing this was their first technology-based project, and only one of me, all six groups couldn’t be helped efficiently. I recruited three parent volunteers, held a small training to make sure they understood how to use the software, how to troubleshoot, the project’s expectations and the ultimate goal. With all of those steps in place, each group was able to display their knowledge making the software the platform for sharing their information.

The marriage of best practices of teaching and technology needs to be a community experience. In order for all of this to take shape and succeed, the teacher must be proficient in the devices, tools, websites and software that is needed. No, you don’t have to know everything there is to know about it, but you must be open to change, open to learning, research independently via magazines, webinars, conferences, colleagues and observations.

Finally keep in mind that you aren’t alone on this journey. There are experts everywhere you turn. Take your newfound knowledge, combine it with your invaluable experience and you will have a lessons that will keep up with or exceed the current trends in a youth’s education.

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Julie Kuzma
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About Julie Kuzma

Julie Kuzma has two decades of experience leading classes at the elementary and graduate level as well as professional development at the county, regional and state level. She has attended the 2012 and 2016 SMART Exemplary Educator Summit, and is a Certified Lesson Developer, Notebook Education Instructor, and Certified Education Trainer. Recently she has also earned the Tech4Learning Innovative Educator award. Currently, she’s an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher in Warrenton, Virginia.

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