When planning your new classroom, you think about many things: Who will my new students be? How many courses will I have? What will I teach? For some districts and schools, new digital tools and curriculum will also be in place. With these new technologies, it is pertinent to think about specific procedures so maximum learning happens.
Across the nation, classroom periods for middle and high school students last anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes. Within this short amount of time educators need students to learn as much as they can to be college and career ready. By understanding these time constraints, one can see there is no wiggle room in a 40 minute ELA or World Language class period–efficiency is a must for learning. This is where establishing digital usage procedures can help A clear and consistent plan will ensure that technology benefits your students’ learning rather than hinders it. Below is my 4-part plan that will walk you through how to create procedures that focus on using technology and accessing digital curriculum.
- Create Your Ideal Environment
Begin by thinking about what you want your educational digital learning environment to look like. Envision your optimal learning environment. For example, what do you want it to look like? And sound like? What technology will students be working with? What curriculum or curricular tools will they be accessing? Is there a daily output expected for students?
- Outline Your Procedures
You will need to decide which procedures need to be in place to optimize learning in your classroom. For example, will students handle their own devices or school devices? Will they visit specific websites or access curriculum through a determined portal? How will they ask for technology assistance? By composing a list of what students should and should not do when working with technology and digital curriculum, you will be able to create a plan that includes well-defined procedures. Here you may also want to include students when defining appropriate behaviors and procedures. We know that getting students to develop ownership on procedures gives them a better opportunity to follow them.
- Plan for Redirection
You also need to decide what will happen if students do not act accordingly. Now, some students will make mistakes and some students will toe the line, but setting up clear redirection will help students understand what happens when they do not follow those procedures. It is important to create procedures, but it also equally important to devise clear consequences for when students are not doing what they need to be. During this step, you can also involve students in this process- have them devise plans for redirections.
- Create a Timeline
The last part of creating procedures for using technology and digital curriculum is to create a timeline of which procedures are going to be introduced when. When thinking about the first part of this plan–creating your optimal digital learning environment–you probably had a long list of ideas. If you want students to understand the importance of technology in their education, it will take some time at the beginning of the year. It’s impossible to teach these procedures in a 60-minute period and then expect students (especially new students) to be experts, so create a reasonable timeline to introduce and implement the procedures and provide redirection.
Best of luck to you and your students as you all begin a new tech journey and a new school year!