Over the last year, educational technology has been a lifeline for educators, students, and parents. No longer a nice-to-have add-on for the classroom, technology is now pivotal for 21st-century learning.
About 95% of teachers report that they use technology in the classroom. Elementary and middle school educators say they use it more often than secondary teachers. While students — and teachers — may find technology a fun way to learn, introducing digital tools actually helps students acquire vital skills for modern life.
With all the data acquired during COVID, post-pandemic studies are revealing a lot more about what technology gets results, whose hands it needs to be in, and which students benefit the most.
While the data is still coming in, the big picture has grown clear: technology matters. And to stay relevant, educators will need to maximize their classroom technology resources.
Teach students how to care for technology
More than 9 million children do not have access to the internet at home. These students and those with limited access may be unfamiliar with standard rules and procedures governing technology use. That’s why it’s important to teach simple ways learners can help take care of school technology.
For example, students should use protective covers and cases, carry items with both hands, and wash their hands before using devices. It’s also important for learners to know not to share devices with others unless they have permission and to avoid food and beverages when working with technology.
While a student/parent/teacher agreement can be effective, it takes more than a signature for kids to become responsible members of the digital community.
Older students will need to learn about exploring safe sites, relevant copyright law, and cyberbullying.
Exploring safe sites means more than avoiding online smut. Students also need to learn to evaluate a website before using it as an academic resource.
Copyright laws and the Fair Use Act can get complicated, but if students know the 10% rule, they’re probably safe.
Cyberbullying is hard to pin down, but make sure your students know they can tell you or another trusted adult about any online interactions in which they were the victim or bystander of bullying.
Establish a computer maintenance plan.
School districts, schools, and individual classrooms each need a computer maintenance plan.
A solid plan begins with a goal for educational technology. It will also include student, staff, parent, administrator, and educator roles as appropriate. Finally, a plan will detail a budget and an evaluation metric.
In the classroom, a student checklist might be the most helpful way to establish a computer maintenance plan. A checklist could include:
- Organize your files. Teach students to use the “my documents” folder, create a hierarchy of sub-documents, and follow a consistent naming structure. Before closing their screens, learners need to double-check that all their files are in the right place.
- Clean your desktop. Students should make sure no files or unnecessary shortcuts are cluttering up the desktop. Frequently accessed folders, however, should have shortcuts available.
- Check your computer security. Schools are a primary target for cyberhackers. To keep school technology safe, everyone needs to do their part. For student users, that includes selecting a password that’s at least six characters long, isn’t easy to guess, and is backed up in a secure place.
- Do your backups. Save copies of everything to a flash drive, external hard drive, or cloud. Classrooms that use Chromebooks have a leg up since those devices save every keystroke to the cloud automatically.
At the school level, computer maintenance helps maintain peak technology performance. A school maintenance plan should include processes for educating the school community on technology, budgeting, reviewing the curriculum, and incorporating new devices.
Use school asset management software.
School asset management software employs cloud and mobile technology to manage documents, media, assets, networks, work orders, and a help desk. It’s a customizable, all-in-one solution designed for the K-12 classroom or school.
Using asset management software lets you easily keep track of devices — no more students checking Chromebooks in and out from home.
It also allows you to track the history of each device. If you find inappropriate content, property damage, or other concerns, you know where to go.
Finally, this system gives you access to a help desk with a single click.
By improving asset tracking, school asset management software helps protect public money. You can schedule a free demonstration of One to One Plus, an integrated, K-12 technology management solution to learn more.
Know more about the assets you have.
Your classroom may hold more valuable technology than you realize. Do you recognize the following devices?
- Computer Speakers
- Voice Amplifiers
- Listening Centers
- Video Cameras
- Charging Stations
- Digital Microscopes
- Chick Egg Incubators
- Three-D Printers
- Document Cameras
Many K-12 classrooms hold many — if not all — of these pieces of technology. Some of them have capacities that far exceed what most teachers use them for.
For instance, you can use your smartboard to take a virtual tour of a cultural heritage site. Or download Google Earth for a geography lesson.
Transfer your CDs to digital libraries for your listening center. Study the whorls and swirls of students’ fingerprints with a digital microscope. Or go absolutely bananas with three-D printers.
You can almost certainly gamify any activity by adding an element of technology to it. As a result, students can enjoy more autonomy and take more control of their learning process.
Whether in the classroom, at home, or in a hybrid setting, educational technology increases productivity. It’s important, therefore, for educators, administrators, and district officials to maximize the use of technology resources in the classroom.
At One to One Plus, we help you integrate your asset management system. It’s easier than it might sound. We can help you import your current information using CSV files or automated API connections so your team can get started without missing any current information.