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Our assignment for this week is to give you 10 Questions to Ask When Selecting Classroom Technology. Well, then we realized the number of perspectives that could be involved in this particular discussion. Are you a teacher, searching for classroom technology? Are you a student looking for the most affordable technology to use in the classroom? Are you a parent looking for classroom technology for your son or daughter that will last from Junior High on up through freshman year of college?
Why don’t we start with a very broad brush stroke and paint on the following advice for all the above to see: Technology changes so fast, it’s best for your budget if you buy today the technology that meets all your minimum requirements. Now, if you want to get into more specifics for each of the above scenarios, here are 10 Questions to Ask When Selecting Classroom Technology.
Teachers Searching for Classroom Technology:
1. How can I keep my students from utilizing this technology without authorization?
2. How can I be assured the learning experience will be the same across all student devices?
3. Are there any drawbacks or service times that will interrupt my teaching?
Student Looking for Affordable Technology:
4. Do I have the ability to print while utilizing this technology?
5. Do I need additional software or applications to support this technology?
6. Is the technology seamless between operating systems?
Parent Looking at BYOD That is Good for Today and Tomorrow:
7. Who can control the applications that are to be used in conjunction with this technology?
8. Are there any tips or tricks with this technology I should be aware of?
9. I want my child to be able to utilize this technology in college, would anything prevent that?
Finally, a question that everyone should ask:
10. Are there any hidden or recurring costs associated with servicing or supporting the technology that I should be aware of before making my purchase?
Sometimes (not always), a manufacturer of a technology solution will tell you about all the benefits up front, but leave out the “little details” on the the way out your door. Good to keep an eye on that.
Another important factor that we have yet to discuss is from the perspective of the educational facility’s administration and how to support the growing trend of technology in the classroom. The gadgets and gizmos are as cool as a pair of “Air Jordan’s” in the mid-1980’s, but those devices are useless if the infrastructure isn’t in place to support them. Do you know if you have the proper infrastructure in place for the classroom technology you intend to utilize?
That’s the number one key for determining if cool classroom technology is even possible. Most technologies are moving away from wired ports or devices and moving towards wireless. Just look down at your smartphone and all of those applications. The teaching environment is rapidly changing and all these cool solutions are being talked about until they are implemented. The biggest mistake is not having the backbone to keep those cool solutions running. For example, some applications function without the need for secure wireless access, but others require live data exchange. Those applications need constant connectivity to the internet in a way that is reliable and safe for students, teachers and parents alike.
At the end of the day, different people purchase technology for the classroom for different reasons. The ultimate goal is to be aware of your technological surroundings and how that specific technology will integrate with the student learning experience - instead of interfering with the educational environment.
If your school is considering implementing new technology in the classroom there is a lot to consider. Contact us here with any questions or for a free consultation. We have helped schools all over the country and we are always happy to help.