Every year, without fail, the new year brings with it an air of melancholy for me. Often, as I look back on the past year, I wonder why I, like so many others, wasn’t able to keep my New Year’s resolutions. As a type-A person, that sentence hurts to even write! But perhaps you have felt the same?
One Step at a Time
Research shows that between 90 and 92 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Many of these are due to a lack of setting specific goals that will still challenge you along the way. Some are also the result of a lack of persistence to keep your initiative moving.
For example, let’s say your goal is to learn Spanish between now and the end of the year. That’s great, but it’s not exactly specific. To make it specific and challenging, you should break your goal down into measurable chunks. For example: “In February, I will learn 30 words in Spanish.” This makes it a targeted goal that you can then break down even further. You can then take steps toward achieving something that is getting you closer to your goal every day. This keeps you motivated and more likely to follow through on a day-by-day basis.
Tackling Ed Tech Integration
The same principle of tackling a big project with slow, steady, measurable steps applies to integrating ed tech in a classroom. There are even more barriers to ed tech integration as a broader initiative that is campus- or district-wide. We all know what the research says, so why is there a lag when it comes to implementation?
Educators and administrators face many barriers to implementing instructional technology. These barriers include a lack of resources and training, inadequate knowledge and skills, and institutional barriers.
TCEA understands that although most educators and administrators believe in the benefits of ed tech, they may not be set up for success. That’s why we at TCEA have set an organizational resolution in 2019. Our goal is to educate even more campuses and districts on proven, research-based strategies for successful implementation.
As we work to bring these new research-based strategies to you in a broader, more impactful way, I will leave you with three tips for overcoming your problems with ed tech implementation.
1. Create a Shared Vision
Get your colleagues involved with ed tech. Help one person find one way of restructuring one aspect of their instruction to include technology. Work with your campus or district administrators. Help them understand the relationship between ed tech and student achievement. Involve others in creating an organizational resolution that focuses on ed tech implementation. After all, we are stronger together.
2. Overcome Limited Resources
Lack of resources or access to technology is the greatest barrier many in education face when it comes to implementation. Work to find creative ways of accessing technology (repurposing old technologies, for example) or utilize your students to help you learn a new technology. Provide them with an incentive for being involved and engaged in this way. Although the initial step of finding creative ways of implementing technology may take more time than desired, the benefits of setting the time aside now will be worth it for you and your students long term.
3. Meld Technology into the Curriculum
Implementing ed tech shouldn’t just be about cramming technology into the curriculum you’re already tasked with teaching. The use of technology should be to enhance instruction. By aligning the curriculum, standards, and technology, students will begin to truly benefit from your tech-integrated classroom.
As I begin my personal journey to better myself and the world around me in 2019, I hope these tips will help you do the same. Let’s keep our resolutions this year! Revisit your ed tech implementation plan to find something that works for you. More importantly, begin to work with those who surround you on a daily basis to help them realize that ed tech implementation can no longer be a lone-wolf effort. To truly implement something that will enhance instruction and provide for deeper learning, full campus or district involvement is key to success. I have full faith that 2019 can be the year you and I succeed at our resolutions and truly expand the use of educational technology, because with TCEA, we’ve got this!