5 Things to Consider Before Using Tech Tools in Your Classroom
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
Friends, meet Arlin Roth, an instructional tech coach at Bellefonte Area School District. We met a couple of years ago at a local educational technology conference. I was allowed to introduce him as a featured speaker. Arlin is one word, AMAZING! So here he is - takes it away, amazing Arlin!
Using tech tools with students is one of the favorite parts of my job. Technology is great when it works! Before using a new tech tool or app with your students, consider the following five items.
What do you want students to learn, create, or do? Focus on learning first and then choose the tool or app. I can’t say this any better than the following quote from Michael Cohen, @TheTechRabbi.
Terms of Service
Find and read the terms of service. Some apps require permission from parents/guardians for students to log in or use. I used to find on the page (CTRL F) and search for “13” or “age” to see if users must be 13 or older to use the app. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are called out for not complying with policies and laws that protect student privacy.
Ask about building or district policies regarding students' use of apps or tech tools. Some districts have formal approval processes for evaluating apps. Most districts do not allow students to install apps or extensions on school-owned devices. Plan ahead. Getting approval to use an app may take some time.
Is the tool free, paid, or “freemium” (free to use, but you must pay for premium features)? Depending on your needs, a free trial may provide adequate access.
Few things are more frustrating than having a well-planned and engaging activity ready to g,o only to find out that it doesn’t work right on student devices. Be sure to have a student walk through the steps to use the app or tool before you introduce the tool to the entire class. In many districts, students are filtered more strictly than teachers and staff members, which can block access to sites and apps that have not been white-listed.
Meet Amazing Arlin
Arlin is the instructional technology specialist for Bellefonte Area School District. He works with teachers and students in classrooms from kindergarten to 12th grade to provide training, resources, and support for using technology in purposeful ways. He is a G Suite for Education certified trainer and educator. You can connect with Arlin and find his tech tips @arothTechTools.