Monday, June 8, 2009

Technology Tips For New Teachers (Or Old Ones Too...)

If you school or district has some extra money to spend this year, you might be thinking about doing some hiring. Even if you don't have any money you still might have to consider some new hires to fill vacant positions. While you probably have a list of qualifications that you would like this new hire to have there might me one you have overlooked, especially for brand new teachers.

The Apple is an online community that aims to connect teachers and provide resources to education. In a recent post, Kelly Tenkely, a technology teacher and trainer lays out a list of the 10 Technology Tips Teachers must have. I won't re-post the whole list, you can head over to The Apple to read more, but I will give you the "Cliff's Notes" version...

1) Develop a PLN (Professional Learning Network) 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.

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.

3) Take Charge Of Your 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.

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.

5) Keep Yourself Organized- During the first year of teaching you will find a lot of new great resources, keep track of all these great finds in one easy to manage location.

6) Find Educational Blogs To Discover New Ideas, Encouragement and Educational News- I have found some educational blogs written by other educators that make me laugh, keep me current, and encourage me on tough days of teaching. Below are some of my favorite blogs, you can find other great blogs by clicking on the links in each bloggers ‘blog roll’ (Remember, I had a post a few months ago about the Educational Blogs you should be reading...)

7) Get To Know Your Students: Nothing means more to a child than getting to know them individually. Find out about their likes, dislikes, family, pets, friends, and hobbies. Technology can make it easier to get to know your students.

8) Work Smarter, Not Harder- Use websites like Scholastic’s Book Wizard that will help you work smart and maximize your time. Scholastic Book Wizard helps you to find just the right books for your students. Level your books, find booktalks, author information and lesson plans

9) Don't Reinvent The Wheel- There are a number of free lesson plans available online for every topic and grade level. These can be excellent, creative supplements for school curriculum.

10) Always Be Prepared- Plan out lessons, and keep them organized. Discovery School has a great online lesson planner where you can create and store your lesson plans. Lesson Planner lets you edit, print or download your lesson plans while linking to puzzles, worksheets, and quizzes that you have created with the teacher tools on

A very good and basic list, I haven't posted all the resources, so head over to The Apple to get the scoop. I know that this list is incomplete however. There are tons of other tips out there. What are yours? What do you want new (or experienced) teachers to know or do when it comes to technology. Leave me some comments and I will compile a list.

Top 10 Technology Tips For New Teachers

Image Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons


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