Friday, July 1, 2016

Choosing Digital Tools for Underserved Students.

Electronic Tablet, High Tech, Digital  I came across a fascinating article by  Molly B. Zielezinski on 7 things to think about when choosing digital tools for underserved students.  She and her coauthor sifted through multiple articles to find the most promising practices.

The first thing mentioned is looking at four specific facets of technology.  Specifically providing opportunities including one to one access to devices, a good high speed internet, using technology in an highly interactive way and for discovery, and have the right blend of teachers and technology.  From personal experience you must have a good high speed internet.

The second aspect is the context of technology.  The technology should be used to develop higher level thinking skills and 21st century skills, draw on culture and community, and finally opportunities for the student to drive their own learning.

Now for the seven considerations.  I am only summarizing everything, you should read it in its entirety to get the full story.

1.  Take into account student needs, level of technology literacy, prior knowledge, interests, etc.

2. Learning objectives and outcomes.

3. The learning activities - which include technology and which rely on technology.  I did an activity using Nearpod one time and our internet slowed down to a crawl so I couldn't get all my students on.  It made it hard to do what I'd planned.

4.  The skills, mindset, and beliefs of everyone involved both immediately and the community.

5. Does the digital resource match up to its claims?  It is advised that you play around with it to see if everything works.

6. What model will be used when students access the technology?

7. The site and district technology infrastructure.

Although this looks at underserved students, I believe this can be applied to any school who is adopting or using technology.  I think it also emphasizes the needed to use technology in a carefully planned way and that in the end, technology is a tool.  Its all in how its used.