One of the best things that I heard while at the Midwest Google Summit was said by Krista Moroder (@edtechcoaching) when she was discussing the Ed Tech Challenge (http://www.edtechchallenge.com/). She stated that one way to decide whether to use technology as a tool or not depends on it making things more efficient or effective. I could not agree more. I love using technology but the big reason that I love technology is that it can make things more efficient and effective.
People often say that they do not have time to learn about something new in technology. I would counter that they don’t have enough time not to learn something new. The big reason that I use Twitter is that it makes it easier for me to get new information while at the same time making it easier for me to connect with others. My professional learning becomes more effective because I can now carry on conversations well past the conference and with people that I can not meet in person.
I use Google Docs with my students because it makes it much more efficient to provide feedback and to include collaboration with all of my students. It makes the learning process more effective by including the chance for them to get feedback from not just me, but other students in class.
I have my students create their own Google Site so that they can have an audience of more than 1. Their learning becomes way more effective when they feel that others may actually see or read what they create. It is a lot more effective than just printing it out and putting it on my wall for a limited few to see, instead the whole world can see it. Many students want to just feel that they have a voice and this is one way that we can do that.
I use formative assessment tools like Google Forms, Socrative or InfuseLearning to make it much more efficient to provide feedback. The learning is more effective if students can see quickly how well they are understanding the content and this gives us the chance to quickly change the class to better meet the needs of our learners. Instead of waiting for the copy machine to spit out the quizzes, taking them home and trying to find the time to grade and analyze all of the quizzes, I can just use the built in tools to do this for me instantly.
We do not have enough time in the day to not use technology effectively. The time that we spend now to learn something new and apply it, is time that we get back later when it is much more important, in the classroom with our students.