I’m rubber; you’re glue. What bounces off me sticks to you.

Or does it?

I love quick tech tips and sessions dedicated to new tools.  Usually, I leave these presentations and implement at least two or three, sometimes four or five.  Yet, when I speak to other teachers and administrators, many tell me that they aren’t sure when they will have time to implement any of the tools to which they were introduced.

The responses are all too familiar: “When I have time…”  “Maybe next year…”  “I love the idea, but…”

I’m beginning to wonder if my own sessions are rubber and bouncing amazing tech tools right into Nowhereland. This failure to “stick” may be a result of not taking enough time to illustrate how the tool has real impact in the classroom. Do I talk enough about how it supports curriculum?

This year, I’m making a few changes.  Instead of focusing on quantity, which I believe tends to be a natural mistake of those in educational technology and professional development, I will focus on enhancing curriculum.

So, how can we change this obvious flaw in edtech?

  1. Start with teacher voice.  Let teachers explain their curriculum and what tools will best assist them and their students.  Nothing is better than hearing a teacher ask, “Do you know of a website that will let me…”
  2. Ask students.  What do they use at home? What app or site would help them?
  3. Give choices.  Mandates rarely work, and teacher support is pivotal in making changes (see #1).
  4. Make sure that technology isn’t the star of the show– use should feel like normal part of the lesson.
  5. Model.  If you want other teachers, students, and administrators to implement a tool, model how well it works.

We need less forcing the use of technology and more discussion on what a positive impact it can have– how it can elevate student learning.  Tech shouldn’t be a barrier for teachers but one of many tools in their toolbox.  With changing the way we think about tech implementation, perhaps we can forget about the rubber and glue analogy altogether.

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