Four Reasons to Use a New Technology Tool…And One Reason Not To

New technology tools flood my inbox and Twitter feed daily. I could probably spend a full day each week exploring new tools with students and still not cover half of them. So, how do you decide whether or not to use a new technology tool with your students? What is worth their time?

Here are four reasons to use a new technology…and one reason not to:

1. It makes learning more authentic. – Some technology tools help you find an audience for student work. Whether it’s writing, reading, or an online project, a technology tool that helps students reach a real audience will increase their effort. Students working with a purpose create higher quality work because they know others will see it. Student blogs are a great example of this.

2. It increases student engagement. – Some technology tools are simply a substitution for a piece of paper and a pencil. It’s the lowest level of technology integration, but it’s not always bad! Taking a boring worksheet and turning it into a boring pdf doesn’t help, but if students will be more highly motivated to practice their multiplication facts with an online game, go for it! It’s not higher-level thinking, but it’s a skill they must have to succeed in the future.


3. It makes the impossible possible. – If a technology tool allows your students to do something they could not otherwise do, it’s probably a winner. Having a video chat with a scientist across the country, typing on the same document with a partner at the same time, and writing code are all examples of things that couldn’t happen without technology. My district recently purchased a Learning Management System (LMS). I learned all about it but did not have a reason to use it with my students. However, when a teacher in another building and I realized we could create a discussion forum accessible to students at both schools, I got onboard.

4. It’s fun to try new things. – If something looks cool, find a few moments to try it. Sometimes it’s hard to see a tool’s potential without seeing it in action. You might end up seeing applications for the tool you had never considered. You also might end up seeing that the tool is a waste of time. Now you know.

But never, never, ever, never use a technology tool…

…to justify the money spent on it. – Comments like, “We paid for this, so we should use it,” are giant red flags! As a teacher, the budget is not your concern; students are. If someone spent money on something you know is a waste, it is not your duty to go down with the ship. Consider trying it once, but abandon anything you know is not benefitting kids.

Good luck with all your technology explorations!


About mrwhitehb

I teach 4th grade and am the chair of the Young Hoosier Book Award Committee for grades 4-6.

Posted on September 22, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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