7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology
No matter how much apps can help or how effective online grading solutions can be, many teachers’ relationships with technology can be classified as #itscomplicated. The goal is to utilize education technology tools that enhance the learning environment and aid the teacher in effective classroom management. However, sometimes the learning curve and inevitable technology glitches make this seem impossible.
At one point, most of us had a copy of the Stephen Covey classic on our bookshelves: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We pulled ours off the shelf, dusted it off and translated his life lessons into guidance for the teacher wanting to effectively utilize education technology in the classroom.
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology:
1. Be Proactive
Technology has to be proactive. It can almost never be used after the fact – after the lesson has been taught or the assessment administered. Plan ahead for what types of technologies you’ll need to learn and set up in your classroom before the next school year.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What administrative task can technology perform for me this year?
- What technologies would enhance the learning environment?
- What could grade this assessment faster?
- How can I get a better picture of what my students actually know?
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
2. Begin With The End In Mind
At GradeCam, we don’t believe in technology for technology’s sake. It has to have a purpose that’s tied to your classroom or individual learning goals.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What will having this technology in the classroom accomplish?
- Will this technology be a distraction or enhancement of learning?
- How will it support my value of [fill in the blank] in my classroom?
Begin each day with the blueprint of your deepest values FIRMLY in mind then when challenges come, make decisions BASED on those values. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
3. Put First Things First
We’ll borrow a slogan from another company and say: Just Do It!
Make it a priority to learn the new technology before the next school year. If you wait until the school year starts, you may fall into your usual teaching patterns and forget all about the awesome enhancements you were going to institute.
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
4. Think Win-Win
The technologies you choose for your classroom must be mutually beneficial for both the students and you, the teacher. If the technology makes it more challenging for a student to take an assessment, but it’s easier to administer for you, that’s a lose-win situation.
Shoot for a win-win situation. Learning is a team activity. What benefits the student also benefits the teacher and vice versa.
Win-Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
5. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
Listen to your students’ feedback on the technology. Is it working for them? If not, dive deeper into their concerns with clarifying questions.
Only after you clearly understand their concerns, explain your view as a teacher. Maybe there is a simple tweak to the technology that would solve the issue or a different technology that would be a better fit.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
Synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You and your students are a team working together to achieve academic success for your students, for your classroom and for your teaching career.
Technology is a tool and problem-solver; however, technology glitches are bound to happen. Be open to the fact that the technology you thought would solve the problem may not be providing the answer. If you listen to your students and involve them in the process, the result will be much greater than if you tried to solve the problem on your own.
Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
7. Sharpening The Saw
In Stephen Covey’s model, sharpening the saw requires balancing in all four dimensions of our nature: physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional.
Teachers using technology can translate this into making sure they practice self-care and care for the technology by keeping up with any maintenance required. There is nothing worse than trying to fix a technology glitch on too little sleep. Or, starting your lesson, then realizing an update needs to download for it to work properly.
Often we are so busy sawing that we forget to sharpen the saw. - – Stephen R. Covey , -
The Big Takeaway
Keep technology in its place. Technology is a tool teachers can utilize to achieve an academic goal; however, it should be kept in balance with all other aspects of your teaching life. It can never replace you as the educator, nor should it be used as a less-than-desirable replacement for duties you usually perform.
Technology’s purpose is to perform activities as well as or better than you – or enhance learning in ways you cannot.
If technology fails to do this, it has no place in your classroom.