The 4 biggest mistakes that teachers make when integrating technology

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

A guest post by Craig Kemp

In classrooms all around the globe, educators are introducing new and exciting technological tools to engage their students in learning. Many educators are successful when integrating these technologies, but unfortunately many are not for a variety of reasons.

In my opinion, and from my experience in classrooms around the world, these are the biggest mistakes that educators make when integrating technology into the classroom:

Technology before pedagogy

Sadly, educators see the latest gadgets and feel the need to use them without giving a thought to ‘why’. Education is all about purpose. Integrating technologies into our learning environments needs to be relevant and purposeful; it needs to make learning easier and more engaging for our students. Ask yourself ….. Why am I using this technology and how will it improve learning in my classroom? Think Pedagogy (and curriculum) before Technology.

Technology as a toy

Too often in classrooms around the world I see technology used as a toy. Technology needs to be used as a tool to support learning, not as a gadget or a toy (as much as we all love them). The students that we educate in today’s 21st century learning environments are digital natives and are the leaders of tomorrow. They use technology as a toy in their own time. In schools, we need to use technology to teach them lifelong learning skills for the future.

Technology to fill in time

Technology should be used as a learning tool, not as a tool to fill in time or to keep students ‘busy’. Every spare moment in our classrooms should be packed full of engaging, learning opportunities. It is powerful to see educators that are passionate about their jobs, and are utilising technology in new and innovative ways.

Not utilizing the technology available

I am sure you have seen this before … A teacher gets supplied with the best possible tools to integrate technology into his or her classroom and the technology sits in the corner of the room, in the trolley or in a cupboard gathering dust while students drool over their existence. No matter how hard you try, you can’t pry the key out of their hands to unlock the learning potential. While this is not a mistake, it is close enough. You can’t make mistakes if you don’t take risks and this is the hardest thing to see. No opportunity given to unlock learning potential in students through the use of integrated tools.

Being a passionate educator, leader, and coach, I hope for a classroom where everyone (including the educators) are willing to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them; where technology is used as a tool to enhance learning and pedagogy..

Pedagogy before technology! Get integrating, be willing to take risks and immerse your students in the wonderful learning opportunities that technology provides.

For more information, or to connect with me please follow me on twitter @mrkempnz or through my blog

This post originally appeared on Mr. Kemp’s blog, and was republished with permission.

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Craig is a New Zealand born educator with over 10 years experience both in the classroom and in leadership. He is an enthusiastic, 21st century change agent that is passionate about every aspect of education and making a difference.