If you are a teacher, chances are you are being bombarded with countless ways to use technology with your remote teaching. Your inbox is filling up with promises from edtech companies that their product will transform online learning. Your social media feeds contain endless links to technology tips and tricks that every educator MUST know. Colleagues are sharing technology ideas that you have never heard about and you are worried that you might look bad as a teacher if you don’t figure out a way to do the same things as your peers.

All of this noise can be overwhelming. There are so many tools and ideas being thrown round that teachers might not know where to start. Not only is this overwhelming for teachers, but it can also be too much to handle for our students and their parents. How can teachers know what tools are best for remote learning? When should teachers introduce new tools to their students? How many new tools should teachers introduce to their students during periods of remote learning?

Work With What You Got

If you and your students find yourselves in a remote learning setting then teach like a minimalist. Simply use the technology tools that you have already used in your face-to-face setting. Keep it simple, less is more. Now is not the time to introduce ten more tech tools to your students. Instead of introducing a new tool to your students each week, try maximizing your current tools. If you and your students used Seesaw or Google Classroom before remote learning, then work with those tools and get as much out of those tools as possible. Teachers, students, and their families might already be overwhelmed with at home learning. Let’s try to make this experience as simple as possible for all involved.

Sticking with a limited set of tech tools might be extremely difficult, especially if you know other teachers who are using, or introducing, the next great technologies with their students often. If you feel the need to introduce a new tool to your students because it will enhance the student experience in a way your current tools cannot provide then keep reading.

How Many is Too Many?

Once again, I encourage you to only use the tech tools that you and your students have previous experience with before the remote learning started. However, if you feel that the tools you and your students have prior experience with is simply not enough, then add only 1-2 tech tools per semester. That’s it. Anything more than that is too much.

Make sure to think about everyone involved when introducing a new tech tool. As a teacher, you will have to learn the ins and outs of this new tool. Your students will have to learn about this tool from the student perspective. You will have to find a way to train your students how to use this tool on the ifferent devices that they have access to at home. Also, don’t forget about the parents. Ask yourself if this new tool will require any time or guidance from the parents. Training people how to use a new technology is extremely difficult in person and it is exponentially more difficult to train in an online setting.

The Why Before the What

So, your students have prior experience with GSuite & Google Classroom before remote learning began. You feel strongly that you need to introduce an additional 1-2 tech tools to your students. If so, make sure you start with the “why” and not with the “what”. Identify the needs first, then select the tech tool that can help address your needs. Do not select the tech tool first and find cool ways to use that tool. Instead of grabbing that new flashy tech tool that everyone is talking about online ask yourself the following:

  • What “big picture” areas do my students need more interaction with?
    (Feedback, assessment, student voice, interaction, collaboration, problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, etc.)
  • Is there a tool that can help my students with the big picture area I have identified?
    (Talk to a trusted educator. Tell them your needs and ask if they know of a tech tool that can address your needs)
  • Can this tech tool address more than one need?
    (Perhaps one tool can address feedback, student-student collaboration & critical thinking)
  • How difficult will it be for me to learn this tech tool? How much work will it be for my students and their parents to learn how to use this new tool?

Add a comment below to let us know what questions you might ask yourself when adopting a new technology tool.