EDTECH 537 Commentary Entry: New Technology Hesitation

I love finding new educational technology whether its a new app or some new program, but I am always hesitant when starting to use it in my classroom.  I like to spend a good bit of time playing around with the technology prior to introducing it to my students.  A blog entry from Dan Meyer inspired me to write this post.  He discusses four questions that he likes to ask himself before using the newfound technology.  The four questions are:

  1. What does it do?
  2. Is that a good thing to do? (for the specific group of students you have)
  3. What does it cost? (time and money)
  4. What do other people think about this? (research!)

He goes into detail about what he means by each question, so you should check it out.

A major problem I have with new technology in the math classroom is that there are times that it can take longer to use than working problems out by hand.  The question I like to ask myself is:  Is the extra time worth it?  If the extra time allows students to understand the material better, it is worth it in my opinion.  When I realize the extra time is not worth is when I see students start to get stressed out about the technology.  This has happened quite a few times in my classroom.  I’ve done it long enough that I can usually tell when this is going to happen, so I don’t even introduce it to the class.

The reason for this post is to say that not all technology is good for every group of students that you have.  It may work for one group of students but not another.  I am constantly changing things each year of teaching, because no two groups of students are the same.  We as educators are also researchers.  I am in constant research every week while planning my lessons.  We should never stop trying to find new ways to deliver material to our students whether it is through technology or not.

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13 thoughts on “EDTECH 537 Commentary Entry: New Technology Hesitation

  1. This post really speaks to me! I think of the same things when I’m using a new technology in my ELA classroom. Unfortunately, perhaps, I’m a bit more likely to jump in to a new technology and iron out the kinks later…. But I really like this checklist, and I will definitely keep this in mind for next time- thanks for sharing!

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    • Thank you for the reply, Melissa! I was the same way my first 2 years of teaching, but I have learned over the last few years to take my time when introducing new technology. It takes more time when planning, but it is well worth it!

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  2. It can be very frustrating when you find a new technology to incorporate within your class to only realize it does not work the way you had envisioned! I will use one of my more tech savvy classes to work out bugs and kinks of new technology that we might experience before introducing it to the larger group. I have found this approach provides me with great feedback and experience. Even though all students are different and their reception of technology can greatly vary, I have used this approach to consider whether or not I share the new technology.

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    • I agree, Geri. One of the frustrating things, I think, about teaching is that we never really know how it is going to work out until we have taught it once. New technology fits within that for me. I hate when I am sure how a new piece of technology is going to work in my classroom, then I use it in a lesson, and BAM, it fails miserably.

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      • I hate this too, Dana. I have gone into lessons super pumped up about new technology, and it ends up failing. That’s a terrible feeling!

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    • Geri, that’s a great idea! I have done this by introducing new tech to my 11th-12th grade classes before my 9th grade classes. There have been times when the new tech has caused issues in the beginning, but became very useful after we worked through it.

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  3. Something else to consider is when “new technology” starts to become dated. I have used programs before and try to use them the next year and run into slow processing, broken links, or other issues when programs are not updated. I try to check all of these before I plan it out, but at times have forgotten and it caused a big headache!

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    • You are so right, Alyssa! I haven’t come across this problem yet, but I have come across an app being no longer available. There used to be a cheap graphing calculator app that replaced a TI-84, which are quite expensive. I found last year that it’s no longer available. That was a big let down for me!

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  4. I have felt some of the same ways when using technology with my students in my classroom. Last year my school district purchased a digital intervention program for math and reading which ended up not being what we expected it to be. At the beginning, we thought it was so great and was everything we needed to help our students grow. After looking at the data from the program about 3/4 of the way through the school year, teachers started realizing that this program really didn’t help our students like we hoped it would. We were relying too much on the program for interventions and overlooking the teacher aspect. So for the upcoming school year, the district has decided to skip the purchase for the “intervention” program and put that money to better uses. Most of the teachers are grateful for the decision. I completely agree that not every technology is good for every group of students.

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    • I hate that, Avery! Our district has done the same thing in the past more than once. We have tried multiple programs or devices and still haven’t found one that they haven’t given up on. I think with us going 1:1 and getting Chromebooks that we will see a difference as long as, teachers are trained properly on how to utilize the Chromebooks in their classroom.

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      • I completely agree! Training definitely makes a difference. It kills me to see districts shell out money for a program without providing us with necessary training for the program. We have so many options to use but a lot of teachers ignore them because they don’t know what it does or how to use it. Training would really help us take advantage of all the programs the district purchases.

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  5. I love the suggestion of asking yourself if the new technology is worth the extra time. If the answer is no, then you could still mention it to your students anyway in case they would like to explore it on their own time. I know I have come across apps or web simulations that either I don’t have time to use or that would take up too much class time but I usually post them to my Google Classroom anyway and let the students decide if they would like to use it outside of class to help study or reinforce a topic.

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    • That’s a great idea!! I may have done this a time or two, but I need to get in the habit of posting useful applications to Google Classroom since I don’t always have time to use them in class.

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