Tech Integration: A Year in Review

I love the access that technology gives students in my classroom.  I am very thankful to be at a 1 to 1 BYOD school in which all my students have laptops to help aid their learning.  My professional goal this year was to make my classroom paperless, and upon completion of the year, I can truly say that it was a success.  There were a couple of major steps I had to take (and many realizations along the way) to make this a success, but I can truly say after trying it for one year it did help student learning in my classroom.

Introduce it early – The first thing I learned about tech integration over the past year is it works best to introduce it right from the start.  This year instead of passing out paper copies of the syllabus to students at the first day of school, we discussed where they could go to find it.  This worked wonders to increasing buy in.  Although the school is a BYOD school, this is more of a firm encouragement as opposed to anything that the students sign.

Photo Credit: CA Technologies via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: CA Technologies via Compfight cc

In the past this has meant that each class always has at least two students who do not have devices when we have needed to use it.  Starting right away demonstrating the importance of using a device in my classroom sets the stage for the year and allows the students to clearly see my intentions with tech integration.

Make it purposeful – If you are going to integrate technology in your classroom, or require your students to bring a device to class each day, it is important that the use of the device is both regular and purposeful.  If you have students bring a device on the off chance that they will need to use it that day, there is a much higher percentage of kids that do not have a device as they do not see a valid reason for lugging it around each day to sit in their backpack.  This year, my goal of a paperless classroom accomplished this, as any activity that was done was accessed online.  This made the students see the point of bringing their device to class, as they would not be able to learn the same way had they not.

Infrastructure of integration –  This year utilizing a paperless classroom, it was important to have the infrastructure in place to clearly support my objectives.  On a classroom level, I made sure I had extra plugs and extension cords to reach around the room.

Photo Credit: kalleboo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kalleboo via Compfight cc

This eliminated the excuse of not having a device due to it being dead.  On the tech level, I made sure that once my class lists were finalized, all students joined my Google Classroom and I included them all on Doctopus for sharing files.  This allowed me to clearly outline and walk them through the process of finding all classroom materials as well as what it means to be a part of our community of learners.

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Overall this year has been very productive in the way students have been able to use technology in the classroom.  By having my classroom entirely paperless really made the process smoother and easier than if I used technology every now and then.  With the students connected every class period, getting resources from my course page, and collaborating with peers regularly, it created a great jumping off point to prepare my students for the 21st century.