‘Technology integration’ is an exhausted term, frantically being passed around schools and districts as a high priority. While aware of its sense of urgency, the term has earned a reluctant reaction from many educators simply fed up of hearing it. While no school wants to get left behind, the added concern of disrupting the harmony of a school body at a time where stability is key has urged some to continue sidelining the inevitable move. What many remain unaware of is how simple technology integration can be, with the right system. Before deciding on an LMS, SIS, or learning platform for your school, ask yourself the following key questions. Then, fill out your free technology comparison template to make an informed decision.
#1. Is it easy to implement?
Implementation is everything. It’s essential to find a digital tool that will integrate easily with your current infrastructure, and allow your teachers to get on with their work without causing a stir. It’s also important to ask the question: By choosing a new platform, am I losing out on my previous investments? Selecting a tool that works with your existing systems, whether LMS’s, SIS’s, or gradebooks, ensures no investment is lost and teachers are free to choose which works best for them.
#2. Does it require little training?
Training is a big concern for schools integrating technology. It’s important to ensure the system you choose to introduce to your school is user-friendly, and teacher-focused. It needs to require as little training as possible so that it can be up and running quickly, without disrupting the school’s flow. At the beginning of a new school year, it’s necessary to implement a strong strategy, and stick to it, so your new system should work around you, and not the other way around.
#3. Does it incorporate personalization?
One-to-one instruction has long been considered the most effective form of teaching. Yet, scaling this at whole school level is simply unachievable on a manual basis. Here’s where technology comes in. By choosing an adaptive learning platform that personalizes the learning experience for every student, based not only on assessment signals but also on each learning profile, student achievement and productivity are guaranteed to make a significant improvement.
#4. Is it mobile?
Whatever technology you choose, it simply must be mobile. The impact that mobile learning and BYOD are having on schools around the world is revolutionary. Investing in technology can be a costly procedure in itself, so why add to this by choosing a system that’s not mobile? By opting for a mobile platform, teachers and students alike gain unlimited access to the resources and lessons they need, moving learning to a whole new place… everywhere!
#5. Does it facilitate blended and flipped learning?
Every school should be keeping up with the latest EdTech trends, some of the most important of which being blended and flipped learning. The flipped classroom model is based on the idea of making the classroom a more constructive space, and moving instruction to the home through video-based lectures. This trend is moving fast, and gaining tremendous recognition. The platform you choose should easily facilitate this type of instruction, allowing you to keep up with changes in the industry, and maintain that innovative mindset.
#6. Is it collaborative?
Social media in education is another key trend making the rounds. A common concern about using social media in the classroom is safety. When using flipped, blended and mobile learning, social media provides an ideal tool for collaboration outside the classroom, but it’s necessary to take the proper precautions. Choose a system that integrates social media, but in a secure, monitored way that affords teachers control and transparency.
#7. Does it use analytics?
Learning analytics are completely changing the way we teach, engage students, and track progress and performance. They’re gaining significant ground in education and are certainly worth integrating. By ensuring the technology you choose is safe and protected, analytics can give your school a whole new insight into learning and progress at a personalized level.
The good news is that platforms do exist that say ‘yes’ to every single question. Fishtree is a secure, user-friendly learning platform that blends personalization, analytics and collaboration to bring everything you need into one system. What sets it apart is its ability to sit within other systems like gradebooks, LMS’s and SIS’s, making it as simple as possible to implement. What’s more, it’s mobile, and an ideal platform for flipped and blended learning environments, with all the necessities in one place. Making a 1:1 conversion has never been so easy with ‘all in one’ systems like this. Say ‘yes’ to simple digital solutions, and keep the focus on pedagogy, over technology.
Say ‘yes’ to simple technology integration today with Fishtree… the ideal solution for flipped, blended and mobile learning!
About the author:
Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.