Top 10 Technology Tips for New Teachers
Kelly Tenkely | Teaching.monster.com
Being a first year teacher can be overwhelming to say the least. There is new curriculum to learn, unfamiliar school policies, classroom management challenges, and new teammates. Technology can help to ease some of these first year growing pains.
1. Develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter.
Twitter is an excellent place for new teachers to connect, collaborate, share ideas, and struggles with educators around the world. When joining Twitter, make sure to fill out your profile with information related to education. This will help others in education find you. Visit http://twitter.com to create an account. Visit http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com to find other educators that teach in the same content area(s). Be sure to add your Twitter name to the appropriate list so that other educators can find you.
2. Keep students engaged.
Always have engaging activities on hand to keep your students on task and learning. Students will misbehave if they have nothing to do, don’t give them the opportunity to be bored. Technology is a great way to fill those extra minutes with critical thinking and problem solving activities. Keep a list or bookmark folder full of great online logic puzzle and problem solving websites for students to refer to when they have extra minutes. List ideas on 3×5 notecards that are kept next to the classroom computers. Students can select a card for an engaging activity any time they have a few extra minutes. Here are some suggestions for great engaging websites:
Fantastic Contraption- http://fantasticcontraption.com/
Super Thinkers- http://www.enlightenme.com/enlightenme/superthinkers/pages/index.html
Toy Theater- http://www.toytheater.com/index.php
Science Museum Launch Ball- http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/
I Know That Thinking Games- http://iknowthat.com
Zoops Games that make you think- http://www.zoopz.com/zoopz/zoopz2.html
Light Up Your Brain- http://lightupyourbrain.com/
3. Take charge of professional development.
Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that you are finished learning. A good teacher is continually learning. Technology makes it easy to extend your learning by offering professional development on demand. Professional development will keep your teaching fresh, current, and will remind you of what it is like to learn something new. Teachers who are continually learning make empathetic teachers, they understand how frustrating it can be to learn something for the first time. These are great places to continue your learning:
Learner.org – http://learner.org
Tapped in- http://tappedin.com/tappedin
Teacher Tap- http://eduscapes.com/tap
Edutopia Instructional Modules- http://www.edutopia.org/instructional-modules
4. Involve parents by creating a link between home and school.
It is essential to build a strong connection between what happens at school with what happens at home. Students shouldn’t stop learning when they leave your classroom. Keep parents informed so they can be advocates for their kids education at home. There are a few ways to keep parents involved and informed:
- Build a simple website to share classroom policies, unit overviews, homework, newsletters, calendars, and links to helpful websites. These websites are as easy as 1-2-3 to create and will keep your parents in the know. Check out the following free website creators:
Lunar Pages http://wiki.lunarpages.com/Free_Education_Account
Create a classroom Twitter account (http://twitter.com) and invite parents to follow the class on Twitter.
Throughout the class day invite students to post short updates about learning on the classroom Twitter account. Examples would be: “Yikes, about to take a pop math quiz!” or “Reading chapter 3 of Wayside School, can’t wait to hear what happens next.” This keeps parents updated with exactly what is happening in your classroom throughout the school day. When students get home parents can ask about specific activities that happened throughout the school day instead of getting the standard “nothing” answer when they ask what they did that day. This is also a great place to post homework. It is fast and gets students and teachers thinking about and reflecting on the learning of the day.