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:
- What does it do?
- Is that a good thing to do? (for the specific group of students you have)
- What does it cost? (time and money)
- 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.