Monday, August 8, 2011

Vulnerability into Credibility: Introducing New Technology in the Classroom

After learning about, I immediately went into action. I knew that I had found something worth sharing to my students; however, I also knew that this would be a fairly large risk if I honestly expected every student to be apart of this learning process. Because it was late in the year, I had to develop a simple system that did not intimidate my students but instead gave them an alternative learning style that felt and appeared natural. The following is a general overview of how I introduced StudyBlue with the end in mind:

How to introduce technology into the classroom:

  1. Do the research! Before I ever introduced StudyBlue to my students, I had a sound understanding of who the company was and what they represented. Just as important, I knew how to complete many of the common tasks that all of my students were going to ask assistance with. For example: How do I enroll into your class, Mr. Rothrock? How do I create a flashcard? Can we share resources?
  2. Have a plan! Because I only had the last 9 weeks to really get students engaged, I decided that I would introduce StudyBlue as a mini-project (my plan). I knew that if I left the integration process as optional, as many as half the students may not have participated; therefore, involvement was mandatory and feedback would be part of the assignment. I really had to know whether or not this would be something I wanted to continue in years to come.
  3. Communicate! Elementary sounding, but my students needed to know exactly what I was thinking and more importantly my expectation of them. I was willing to communicate as much information as I could afford. Everything was out on the table. When things went wrong (and they did), I wasn’t afraid to admit a mistake. Ultimately, my vulnerability paid off and gave me credibility.
  4. Stay consistent! Once the mini-project was introduced, I had a routine check that was completed on a weekly basis. I also brought it up in causal conversation just to remind them of my expectations, which I feel ultimately helped them participate in the overall project. They knew that every week I would be checking for their production.
  5. Find the value! We all do this last one. We invest in the things that we see value in. My students weren’t any different. I had to sell the value in their education. StudyBlue offered me an alternative learning method through technology. I wanted my students (even the ones who hate technology) to see that value. In doing so, I shared with them how they could search for other topics outside of my math class and integrate their findings into their own flashcards. I showed them how to jigsaw a chapter using 4-5 students so that not everyone was re-creating the wheel and then share those resources to each other. And lastly, I showed them how consistent studying using their flashcards helped them perform at a higher level on a mock exam.
Daniel Rothrock
Disclosure: Daniel is a user and Teacher Advocate for StudyBlue.

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