Evaluating Classroom Technologies
What does an effective classroom technology need to provide students? Is there a criteria you use?
In my opinion, any technology that is to be considered “worthwhile” in the classroom needs to provide students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, allow students to collaborate with others inside and outside of their classroom, allow students to best showcase their understanding of newly learned material and concepts, and finally appeal to multiple learning styles such as auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners.
What do you look for when evaluating classroom technology?
Is it easy to rollout? Meaning, will it take me only a day or two to help students fully understand the new technology or will it take me 1-2 months before the students can use the tool? Time is extremely valuable in the classroom and it should primarily focus on the subject and content.
Is it engaging? Are students seriously excited when they are using this new technology or will they be bored or frustrated by it? How many different levels of engagement does this new technology offer? Without engagement the new technology is useless.
Does it “simplify” the “work-flow” of the classroom? Does a teacher have more time to “teach” and advise within their content using these new tools or will the new technology add even more cluster to the process? Case in point with the iPads: Great technology, can surf the net, write documents, create projects…but then how does one store all of this data? How can a student submit their completed documents to a teacher without having to create an online account in the cloud which can jeopardize the student’s safety? All of these things have to be answered before you can roll these out into the classroom. The end goal is to help both the student and the teacher be more efficient in their work so that they can concentrate more of their efforts on the “learning” and “discovery” aspect.
Is it “manageable”? …There are a great many users that need to be supervised in order to protect students’ identity and the integrity of each school and staff member. How best can all of these users be managed? How are software and hardware updates handled? How can new applications be rolled out onto existing platforms? Is there a “back-up” system in place to help students and staff from losing any documents in the case of a power outage, hardware crash, or software virus?
Author Perspective: Educator