Tech Grant Updates
Welcome to our second Newsletter! We have been working on a couple projects that we are excited to share with the field. Please read the list below to see this month's updates related to the website and the deliverables.
I had the pleasure to work with the DRAW EdTech Maker Space with World Education. Adult educators and educational professionals have been adding and evaluating new resources, lessons and activities to be included in their toolkit. The EdTech Maker Space Project Showcase is scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2022 at 1:00 PM and will reveal the collaborative effort the team has been working on. You are invited to attend and support me by representing CT in this project. Click here to register.
We have 3 additional resources added to the Resources page. Look for the NEW to find these great resources! Click here to view the resources!
Digital ATDN On-Demand Videos App
We have an upcoming PD on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 titled Google Sites to Organize Google Classroom 2 with Shelly Leduke from 10:45 AM to 12:15 PM. Click here to access the Upcoming Webinars page for more information.
Digital ATDN On-Demand Video App
The goal of this app is to organize curated short videos that troubleshoot or show specific features in the programs you use. Each program listed in this app also has a link that directs to their respective help centers for additional troubleshooting. You can see the criteria that we used to shape the content and the layout of the app.
Videos had to be specific, clear, easy to follow and tested to make sure the feature is still available or in the same location.
Videos had to be short in length. The ones included in the app range from 30 seconds to approximately 4 minutes.
Each program will include their helpdesk center for additional support if needed.
The app needs to include an option where staff can reach out if they have questions, concerns or suggestions.
The app needs to have access to book a tech support session.
The app needs to be accessible, easy to navigate and include a bookmark option for quick access.
The app was presented in the ATDN Resources workshop that took place in CAACE on Thursday, March 10, 2022. It launched with 136 videos across 27 programs. We are very excited to release this out to the field. While we have plans to continue to expand the library, feel free to share any videos you have found useful in your tech journey! Click here to access the app.
How to find the answer to "is this the right tech tool for my classroom?"
The increase in high quality technology tools in the world of education is amazing. No matter what you choose, you can rest assured that you will find quality lessons, activities, reports and other "quality of teaching" improvements to make your education life easier. On the other hand, this always makes us wonder if that other cool tech tool you saw in that PD last week would actually be more effective than what you are currently using. While it is never a bad idea to try new things and see how they fit in your classroom, how do you know the tool you are using is the right tech tool for your classroom? This answer will vary based on when and who you ask, but either way, these following 3 points can give you confidence when assessing "the right tech tool" in your classroom:
Find the balance between the technology tool and the objectives your students are trying to achieve in class. I love to drink coffee, but there is a thing as having too much cream or too much sugar. The key to finding the balance is to know your students strengths and weaknesses. When introducing a new tech tool or a tech activity they haven't used before, make sure students are able to complete the task that they will be participating in without the tool. This will allow students to take "tech risks" because they know or have a good idea of what they would like to say. Remember, smaller steps will still take you to where you want to go, it will just take more steps to get there.
Set up a routine and take into account your learners' struggles when using the technology tool. Create a Help Center for students to conveniently access when they have questions or concerns. Wakelet and Padlet are two other websites where you can create interactive Help Centers. Make sure to include tutorials and videos that model the routines or how to use the tool. You can print out tutorials for students that struggle signing in and trying to access technology. The more intentional you are with these routines and with the safety nets in place, the more in control the students will be in knowing what do they do next. The continued practice will begin to build autonomy in the skill and remove the panic of not knowing what to do. Consistency is key.
Be flexible and adapt. Don't hesitate and slow down when you have to, even when you feel tempted in trying all the technology tools you find. It is very important to revise and implement your tech tool routines based on the feedback you are collecting. Remember, setting up students for success requires consistency, flexibility and tons of practice. Make sure to give students at least a couple of weeks of practice to get used to the tool. Some students only get the chance to use the digital skills you are practicing when they are in the classroom.
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on implementing tech tool routines in your classroom.