Welcome back to a new school year! It’s an exciting time of the year, meeting new students and getting started on all the wonderful activities you have planned for the year. It can also be hectic, especially if your school has adopted new technologies and software programs. While it can be exciting to have new resources at your disposal, it can also add a layer of complexity that you did not have before. To help simplify things a bit, here are five tips to ensure a seamless roll-out of new technology.
1. Establish Procedures and Expectations for Proper Use
Invest the time to set up and communicate guidelines and procedures for proper technology use. This initial investment will not only ensure students know when and how to use the technology, but will also ensure that equipment is well taken care of and ready for use all day and year long. Investing time now will save you valuable time later.
Be sure teachers, students, and parents discuss the role of technology in the classroom. Discuss what the proper uses are, how to take care of and respect the equipment, and when to use it. Establish do’s and don’t’s as well as FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for future reference. Set clear guidelines for how they are expected to leave the devices or programs when they are done using it. Things to consider:
- Should the equipment be turned off? Plugged in? Stored in a particular place?
- If the equipment will be used consistently throughout the day, Stand By or Sleep modes will work best.
- Will the students be able to take the devices home? What are the guidelines for usage at home? What are consequences for not following guidelines?
- If students are sharing devices, ensure students log out of apps or programs after use.
- Don’t forget to plan for headphone acquisition and storage.
2. Pre-Plan and Get Training if Available
Many programs offer teacher training, instructional materials, and modules. To get the most out of software purchases, teachers should not only be encouraged to explore these resources, but also given the time to do so as well. Though some programs can be learned and used on a whim, others will be more effective if they are purposefully planned into classrooms at the start of the year.
3. Organize Login Information
Given the large number of programs students work with, there are likely to be some forgotten usernames. The easiest and most common solution to this problem is to create a standard username and password format (e.g. LastName.FirstName). If students are allowed to create their own usernames, teachers should collect and store a list of these names so that they are accessible should the need arise.
Even when using a standard format it is critical that student passwords are protected. Students should not be able to access the accounts of others. Be sure students create unique passwords and know they should not share their passwords.
4. Develop Accountability Systems
In order to ensure that students are spending time on task, it is necessary to communicate how their progress and performance will be monitored. Students are less likely to pass over technology-based assignments if they know their work is being monitored and that they are being held accountable for the work they complete while using the device. Make it clear to students if any software programs or apps will be used for homework, tests, or independent learning and how it will impact a student’s grade in the class.
5. Coordinate a Plan B
As much as we hope that devices and programs work as intended at all times, we have to plan for anything and everything. In the case of uncharged devices, Internet outage and other unexpected obstacles, having a Plan B will lower the stress and uncertainty of unforeseen situations.
Have other best practices that have made your technology and software roll-outs successful? Please share them with us on Twitter, @Knowre.