Providing students with the tools they need to learn isn’t as easy as it should be for many K-12 school districts. Schools’ budgets are tight, and they don’t often have access to adequate resources due to these budget constraints.
While there’s no doubt schools need to have access to new resources to improve learning, finding the funds to support the implementation of these resources is only half the battle.
Even with access to new technology, numerous schools have failed to improve learning. This failure is the result of forgetting the core reason why they are implementing these resources in the first place, and that is to enhance the learning process to better prepare students for a successful future.
Using resources such as technology as a tool for learning is a challenge in itself, and simply installing new technology in classrooms will not change students’ learning experiences. The fact of the matter is, technology integration is a process, a long process that requires sophisticated planning and preparation.
The first step in planning for technology integration is to define learning goals. Learning what students are struggling with in each and every classroom is vital to determining what problems need to be solved. In order to identify these problems, schools should consider initiating meetings with all key stakeholders in the district. Teachers may know students’ learning struggles in the classroom, but parents may know their child’s learning struggles at home. Including each and every person involved in a student’s education in this discussion is crucial to establishing the right learning goals.
Once learning challenges are defined, districts can begin to consider the different tools available to them to help students overcome these challenges.
There are numerous educational technologies available to K-12 schools, and each technology can help schools improve learning in various areas, from increasing collaboration in the classroom to keeping students engaged in content. When schools have a strong understanding of their learning goals, they are more likely to make smarter purchasing decisions, reducing the risk of losing money through a failed technology initiative and increasing the chances of improving students’ learning.
Furthermore, when teachers understand the goals they need to accomplish, they can learn to use technology as a tool to improve instruction and learning. When goals are in place, schools can provide adequate training and professional development to teachers to ensure they are prepared to use technology in a way that will enhance student learning and work towards achieving the learning goals set forth.
It’s undeniable that technology has made a significant impact on education, and it will continue to change education as we know it for years to come. In order to make the most out of these highly impactful educational tools, be sure to know what you’re trying to accomplish with these tools in the first place.