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Three tips to increase student readiness

Technology is everywhere. It’s in your home. In your school. It’s even on the school buses. Wherever you turn, technology is staring you right in the face. A study by SAM Labs shows that 82 percent of teachers think students who use technology in the classroom are better prepared for their careers. The teachers that were surveyed indicated that technology can help students retain more information across all subjects, and learn at a faster rate.
While students may be farther along when it comes to technology, compared to 20 years ago, there are still things they need to learn to be successful. Here are three ideas to consider when beefing up technology-based learning.

1. Establish a culture of creativity

Intellectual capital is often just as valuable of a commodity as physical products. Going forward, students will be able to cash in on creativity as a currency. That can take the form of solving a problem with a novel approach or sharing a concept visually. For students to be creative, they need opportunities to practice it.

Try it: Practice creativity in class by having students propose solutions to messy problems that don’t have clear-cut answers. Let students communicate their ideas digitally through a variety of mediums (writing, video, physical models, drawing, etc.).

“A culture of creativity has been established…working on solutions to open-ended real problems our community is challenged with,” stated Jay Morris, technology integration specialist at Cuba Rushford CSD. “For example, our students made 30-second commercials for members of our chamber of commerce.”


2. Pursue success through collaboration

Rarely are we able to work in isolation to solve problems or get our work done. As our work world moves toward the future, we’re going to increasingly rely on others to get things done.

Try it: Have students solve problems in groups, then help them reflect on their collaborative process and how it can be improved. Let students share what they’re learning through a classroom social media account and show them how to effectively and safely interact with the world on the web.

“Students at CRCS work together via FaceTime, airdropping, shared workspaces in Office365, and many other real-time digital environments to be able to meet real deadlines,” stated Morris. “Those deadlines may be for the daily live Rebel Express Show, the nationally aired CRCS Outdoors TV show or for presentation at the National FFA conference to name a few.”

3. Seize opportunities everywhere – online and in real life

Don Wettrick’s StartEdUp podcast is a must-listen for future-ready educators everywhere. He interviews entrepreneurs and innovators from all walks of life about how we can best prepare ourselves and students for the future. Wettrick’s motto is, “Opportunities are everywhere.” Students who learn to find opportunities everywhere can find success waiting for them anywhere.

Try it: Encourage students to pull their passions or curiosities into classroom lessons and discussions. If one student is interested, there’s a good chance others are too. Give students some freedom to pursue topics within your area of study and use digital resources to propose new ideas and solutions.

“Through the use of our STEM labs and 1:1 Chromebook initiative, instruction is student driven. Students are able to apply cross-curricular learning and apply it to a project and use investigation and engineering skills in order to complete them,” explained Jessi Toepfer, technology coordinator at Tonawanda City Schools. “By allowing them the freedom to work through a project with the use of makerspaces and project-based learning, they are not held to one way of completing a new learning or project/assessment.”
Photo Credit: Cuba Rushford CSD
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