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The leaves are beginning to change and some of us have already reached the mid-semester mark.  Now is a great time to reflect and evaluate your digital learning environment.  Just as we use assessments to consistently monitor student progress and inform decisions, it’s equally important to gauge effectiveness with your use of edtech.   

 

Here are a few questions to help determine what’s working (and maybe what’s not!):

 

  • Is my tech integration helping to redefine how my students are learning?

Edtech has the power to  provide learning opportunities unseen in the traditional paper classroom.  Evaluate if your projects and assignments are simply a digital substitute, or if they take advantage of the higher rungs of SAMR.  If the tech is removed, and students can accomplish the same thing – maybe it’s time for a digital redesign.  

 

  • Are there increased opportunities for collaboration?

Collaborative learning is a sizable advantage of edtech. It helps to foster a sense of community and brings learners together.  Has your edtech plan provided new ways for students to interact and collectively bring meaning to new concepts?  Opportunities to  contribute to dynamic online discussion boards and collaborative presentations while building a responsible digital footprint are great first steps.  

 

  • Are the digital tools helping me meet my classroom goals?

Whether you desire increased communication, more voice and choice in demonstrating understanding, or simply streamlining the feedback process, digital tools should be a vehicle for improving your classroom environment. Hopefully you’ve set some concrete goals for your edtech integration plan. If not, now’s the time to establish a road map with clear benchmarks. If you’ve already defined those goals, take time to examine how far you’ve come in reaching them. Celebrate your victories and don’t be afraid to fail forward.  

 

  • Are students more engaged?

It’s a common misconception that technology and increased engagement are synonymous. A student can easily glare at a laptop without actively being involved in the learning process. What are they expected to do? Are they consuming or creating? If flipped learning is a new model for you this year, are students being required to simply watch or truly interact with your videos? If you’ve adopted an LMS, such as Converge, are you simply creating a resource repository or are students actively involved throughout the instructional process with lively discussions and frequent opportunities to respond?

 

  • How is achievement being impacted?

Technology for technology’s sake serves no purpose.  In the end, our approach to digital integration should lead to increased student understanding and academic impact. Technology has the capacity to generate learner-led environments where students take more ownership in what, how, and when they learn. And when it becomes personal, it becomes more effective.  If you aren’t seeing learning gains, how might the technology be used in different ways to produce a more desirable outcome?  Or is it time for a new game plan?  

 

Take a moment to assess your edtech journey this year.  Reflect, refocus, and don’t be afraid to redefine!  

 

About The Author

Tiffaney Lavoie currently serves as the Director of Instructional Media and Design at Edvergent Learning. An educator with a business background, she has served over 60 school districts in Kentucky as an instructional technology consultant where she developed and delivered professional learning opportunities and partnered with school and district technology rollouts. A former middle school teacher, Tiffaney has a passion for effective technology integration and recognizes the importance of accessible digital tools to support teaching and learning. She has presented on a state, regional, and national level, and values immersive digital learning environments that better equip students to compete in a global society.

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