Many newer teachers feel unprepared for integrating technology into their teaching. Their credentialing program or student teaching experience may have exposed them to some basic tech, but figuring out WHEN and WHY to use it is a different story. How can we meaningfully use tech in a way that isn’t overwhelming to both us and the students? How do we know if it’s actually improving outcomes? Jennifer Gonzalez from The Cult of Pedagogy and I discuss the thought processes teachers should go through when choosing tech, as well as tips before actually implementing it.
Jennifer also has an online technology course for educators, Jumpstart Plus, that will not only teach you about the 10 most impactful technology processes but also helps you implement them in your teaching. She only offers this five times a year, and the next cohort isn’t until October. So click below to learn more and join hundreds of educators in their edtech journey.

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Kim  0:00


Welcome to the Teachers Need Teachers podcast, a proud member of the Education Podcast Network. I’m your host, Kim Lepre, and this is the podcast for new and beginning teachers who don’t want to just survive those first few years but actually thrive.

I really appreciate you coming out and hanging out with me today. As I mentioned, I have an awesome, awesome guest and I was fangirling a little bit about it because I had been following this person for a while. And her name is Jennifer Gonzalez, and she is over at the Cult of Pedagogy. Now, that’s both a website and a podcast. And I have followed that podcast for many, many years. I’ve been listening to it. And she just has so much amazing insight that really helped me as a teacher. And I was really honored to have her as a guest on the show. And we’re going to be talking about technology.

Now, for a lot of us, you know, we know that we’re supposed to have technology in our teachers. But we may not necessarily know what that looks like, aside from having the tech be like a digital binder, or digital textbook or, you know, really big calculator.

How can we use technology in a way that really transforms the learning so that our students are having these experiences that they wouldn’t have otherwise? How can we use technology so that it also makes our lives easier as teachers, and also becomes a great communication tool with students and parents?

Now, I want you guys to stay until the end of the episode because Jennifer’s going to talk about a resource that she has, that’s going to be extremely valuable for you as a new teacher. Because one of the things that sometimes we either get caught up in is either being overwhelmed by how much tech is out there, or we become obsessed with all of the new tech.

And so Jennifer has, like I said, a resource that’s going to teach you some processes in terms of thinking about which tech to us, which is the most effective technology out there. And I don’t want you to miss out on that. So be sure to stay until the end of the episode.

Kim  2:41

Well, thank you so much, Jennifer, for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Jennifer  2:47

Oh, thank you so much for having me on.

Kim  2:50

Now, for my listeners who have never heard of you. Could you please tell us about your teaching experience and how you came to your current position?

Jennifer  2:58

Sure, I start started off as a middle school language arts teacher and I did that for seven to eight years, depending on how you measure summer type of things. And then, when I stayed home to have kids for a couple of years, and during that time, I started working at the college level, preparing pre-service teachers. So I worked with student teachers, people just entering the College of Education, just undergrads of all different levels of the program. So I did that for a couple of years. And I really loved it. And I realized that if I wanted to do that, seriously, I was going to have to probably get a doctorate.

So I kind of had the choice between taking the academic path or something else in around that time, I was also learning some technology, I was learning how to blog for a course I was taking. And I just really, really loved it. And I went kind of above and beyond and the courses I was taking. And I realized it was just something I really like to do. So I kind of combined the work I was doing preparing teachers with the tech and I decided that I wanted to keep doing what I was doing at the university level, but kind of for everybody else. And yeah, and I just and I never ended up going back to the classroom, because this work takes up so much time. And there was so much to learn about it. And when I was an English teacher, I mean, that was like a 70 hour a week job. So yeah, I figured I could do one or the other. And so I’ve just been doing this full time. Now I called to pedagogy for six years now,

Kim  4:24

You had mentioned that you worked with new teachers, which is something that I aspired to do at the university level. And I was thinking, you know, one aspect of teaching that a lot of new teachers worry about is using technology in their teaching. And so they may or may not have had instruction on ed tech in their programs, and some don’t even know how it could benefit their teaching and their students. So why do you think that they should definitely be using tech in some form as a teacher?

Jennifer  4:54

So I think there are actually a lot of different reasons, but probably the ones that I think are the most important in this day and age are, one, that it just makes a lot of things more efficient. I think teachers who don’t use any technology, a lot of times do a lot of the same things that teachers who do use it do, but it takes them five times as long. So hand to hand grading things, for example, assessments. And so the efficiency is one reason.

Another reason is that tech can provide experiences that are really not possible without the technology, for example, what we’re doing right now, right live in completely different places. And we’re able to have all conversation sort of face to face. Skype actually provides crazy, ridiculously cool experiences.

And then also, I think, at this point, we owe it to our students to build their capacity to use technology. If they’re not getting their hands on stuff, they might end up being well versed in literature and have great vocabularies and be really good at math, but they’re really not going to function very well in the workplace, or even at the university level if they don’t know how to function in a technologically rich environment.

And so, you know, even if a teacher is resistant to it, we owe it to our kids to give them those tools, right. And then you know, there’s the other end of the spectrum where there’s some teachers who are super duper techie, and they love to try out every new tool that comes out all the time. And I’m curious what your thoughts are on this for new teachers.

So yeah, if a new teacher is just like, really into all the things and all the tools, you know, and I’m going to get into this actually in a few minutes, but I do have kind of a process that I recommend for teachers that, you know, a lot of times when we go to conferences, we hear people say that you need to put the learning first and put the text second. And so that just as a general rule is, is great. And I have a process that I recommend the teachers use.

But I think you know, for any teacher trying stuff out is fine. But if you’re noticing that implementing the technology is taking way longer than the actual learning, right going on, that’s sort of a good rule of thumb, you know, if it’s not really paying off, and it’s taking way too much time that it’s probably not worth the time that it’s taking.

Kim  7:11

How long do you think teachers should try it out? Because you know, like when I try out something new life flip grid. And I remember thinking, Oh, this is so much work. I don’t really want to do this, but I didn’t give up. But there have been other tools where I tried it. And then I was just like, this is too much work. And I wonder if I had persevered if it would have worked out? Do you have any recommendations for how long they should give it a try before they move on to something else?

Jennifer  7:34

Well, one thing would definitely be to not experiment with a whole class of kids, I would definitely experiment, you know, during your planning period, get to two or three kids to come in at lunch and try things out with you get your nieces and nephews, whatever it is. But definitely, don’t make your first class period your trial run. know when it’s like this is taking too long have a backup plan.

I don’t know that that’s a tough question, honestly. Because sometimes when you persevere just that little extra length of time, right? You know, it pays off. So I would definitely say practice when the kids are not there waiting around for the thing to start working.

Kim  8:16

And then how do you pick which ones to use when there’s just I mean, there’s an endless amount of apps for you know, grading and disseminating assignments and things like that, how do we? What are your recommendations for choosing the ones that we actually land on?

Jennifer  8:35

So what I recommend actually, is that teachers use backward design to choose their technology. And for any of your listeners that are not really familiar with what that is, you know, a lot of times teachers plan instruction in terms of we say, Okay, I’m going to cover this topic, I’m going to do the American Revolution for the next three weeks. And then they just plan out activities, and then they have some sort of a test at the end. And they probably when it comes to technic Oh, do we, for us to do this would be fun for us to do that.

With backward design for everybody already knows that you think about what your goal is, for the end of say, the three week unit, what should students be able to do by the time we’re done right and work backwards from that in terms of the kinds of learning they need to do in order to do well on that final assessment, whether it’s a project or a test or something.

At that point, you still haven’t thought about technology yet, you’re just thinking about it all kind of analog, once you really have a good plan for learning in place, then start to think about the ways that the technology can enhance that, can it make it more efficient? Can it provide an experience that we couldn’t have without the technology? Are there ways that the tech can help students collaborate better with the plan that I already have in place? Right?

Sometimes the answer is going to be no, no tech is necessary at all. Because sometimes, especially with something like Flipgrid, I think teachers are tempted to do it for like in place of a discussion, right. But you might just be better off having kids do it actual face to face conversation, and then you don’t have 30 videos to grade later on. Plus kids need face to face interaction.

And so I think if you really have your sort of learning goal, as a guide, post, you know, as a guiding light at the end, then it can really help you decide as you go through. Okay, that tech would be really cool, but it’s not going to serve that and need, right. And so for this unit, you know, we can skip that. And you know, it’s an imperfect process to I think it’s going to be a lot of trial and error.

Some teachers are going to use a certain technology and realize a few days into it. This is just I need to, but it’s like that with all teaching, though, isn’t it? You know, we start an activity and then we realized this is not going well at all. And it’s probably best to, to change course partway through as opposed to just like you know, stubbornly like pushing through, because that’s what you decided to do and just be really transparent with your students and say, you know, how is this working for you guys, it’s not going that well, let’s make a new plan. Because here’s our goal at the. So that’s why it’s really important to know what the learning goal is, in the end, instead of just kind of randomly flailing around in this topic that you’re covering. And, you know,

Kim  11:09  

You alluded to this, where you’re talking about how some teachers are like, Where am I going to use the tech and some teachers, even they’re obsessed with being paperless. They’re like, I am going to meet me in Berlin, no matter what. And so they’re using tech for every single thing. And so, it sounds to me from what you’re saying that that’s not you don’t think that’s necessarily ideal, either.

Jennifer  11:29

I think it’s a, I think it’s a worthwhile goal. You know, apart from just the environmental goal of being paperless, it’s also just sometimes nowadays, if I write something on paper, then I have to find that piece of paper, it’s not cloud-based. And so you can become very dependent after a while on knowing that something is all synced up with all of your devices and, and that sort of thing.

And so I think it’s a worthwhile goal, I think that we can become way too perfectionist about being paperless though. And because sometimes, certain activities work better just on a whiteboard with dry erase markers, or just do with actual physical post-it notes or people just scribbling out actual notes on regular paper.

And so I think if the teacher is not going to be super rigid with themselves about that, and realize that not only are certain activities better with just handheld tools, right, but certain people do better definitely, with, you know, digital stuff. And I know, I mean, I’ll go to conferences, I’ll go to SXSW or ISTE, and I write this tech guide every year. And I know that you know, I’m probably expected to have some kind of like, nice iPad with like an Apple pen, but I don’t I have a steno notebook, and I scribble stuff out because it’s faster. I don’t have to wait for stuff to load. And I don’t like being on a device all the time, because that’s how we all are all the time. So plus, my handwriting has gotten so bad, it worries me. Like I literally physically cannot write words sometimes. So I think I need to stay in practice with it.

Kim  12:59  

And that’s also one of the reasons why I still have my students do free writes on paper. I think that the physical aspect of it away from the screen to..

Jennifer  13:08

Oh, yeah, definitely. And, and, and, and again, I’m going to repeat the thing that the whole face to face thing is something we are, we’re losing it rapidly. You know, sometimes there are people that I connect with online, and I see them in person, and they’re just like, they don’t even know how to make eye contact anymore. So I think we’re in trouble in that area, we need to always be looking for opportunities to just have regular conversations with each other. So and I think that kind of can go along with paper and pen right.

Kim  13:35  

Now, I also know, you know, some teachers, they are like, No, I’m only going to use paper, I’m only going to use post, it’s because if I use technology, kids are going to misuse it, they’re going to be distracted, they’re going to goof off and message each other. And I think that’s kind of like an extreme and have a conversation. So what are your thoughts on that?

Jennifer  13:57

I think those things, I mean, it’s a definite possibility because kids are going to screw around with whatever it is that we give them, you know. And so that’s, that’s really just a classroom management issue more than anything, it’s like fitted spinners or it’s just like pencils,

I had kids who would take their shoes off under the desk, like, they’re going to mess around with whatever you give them. And they need to learn digital citizenship skills, just like they need to learn, you know, table manners. So that’s got to become part of the curriculum, it’s got to become part of the classroom expectations.

And, you know, there are, there are companies that have built their entire platforms on babysitting students through their devices, right. And so if a teacher at a school has the budget for that, and they want to go that route, you can you can have your desk there, where you can see every single students desktop, and, you know, that’s one way of handling it, and not a lot of schools want to go that route.

And it’s more a matter of having a relationship with your students and handling things on occasion by case basis and talking to students about you know, the consequences, not just you’re going to get in trouble. But you’re being disrespectful by misusing this technology in this way. And then also just not flipping out when things go wrong. And yeah, it’s just, it’s just, it’s kids being kids, and we need to teach them how to use this technology. These are the tools of their lives. So I guess it’s a combination of a lot of different things that can it helps people deal with that problem.

Kim  15:29  

And there are a lot of teachers at my site that are using Apple classroom because they want to be able to see what is on every student’s iPad, and I don’t even know how to use it, because I don’t want to the thought of trying to teach, staring at, you know, Apple classroom and looking at their iPads and not being distracted by that. I think a lot of it also has to do with, like you said, relationships with your students, and also your pacing, like, what is happening in your classroom that they have the opportunity to do that. So I feel like your pacing is tight, and you’re monitoring and you’re walking around the room and students are engaged, there aren’t as many opportunities to misuse the technology,

Jennifer  16:13

And like, and you and I run the risk right now of sounding like, Oh, these problems never happened with my kids. And that’s not what it is the problems do still happen. But it’s exactly, it’s less likely if you’re doing something really engaging if they’re doing something that is important and relevant to them, right, and not just a digital worksheet. And so it’s part of the whole package.

And I think sometimes that the same teachers who are so resistant to using technology for fear-based reasons, those are maybe the same teachers who are afraid of letting the kids go to the bathroom during between classes, or, you know, they, you know, whatever it was, they might have freaked out about those little, you know, computer watches that people use the calculator watches, yes, I have when I was a kid, and it’s just like, it can’t be a fear-based relationship. It can’t be a gotcha culture in the classroom, or it’s just always about catching them doing something wrong, it needs to be something bigger and higher going on in your classroom than just trying to catch them doing something wrong. And assuming that they’ll do something wrong.

Kim  17:15  

Now, I’ve read your blog, and listen to your podcast quite a bit. And I know that, as you mentioned, you have a lot of experience with technology. And what I noticed is that you carefully pick and choose what to share in your blog and podcast, and you don’t have every possible tech tool that’s out there. So what do you think are the most impactful tools available that will help most teachers?

Jennifer  17:44

I think that I think if I like if I were a teacher just sort of getting started, you know, there are some universal uses that I think and there are lots of tools that do these things. But one thing I think all teachers, all people can benefit is having some kinda good curation tool, something to collect, store and organize all of the information that’s out there. And there are lots of things out there that people use, whether it’s pad lit, or they have like a blog, feed reader or something because we have so much information coming in that finding a curation tool that works for you, and then showing your students how to use it, using it to share information with your own students and parents is just a really, really valuable thing for teachers.

Any type of collaboration tool, most of us have gotten very used to using the Google Apps where we can really share things on a Google doc and becoming really limber with some type of a tool like that. Or whether it’s something that’s more of a work based thing like Slack, where you’re communicating with your coworkers through some sort of a system, any type of collaboration tools, I think are also another really good sort of first step.

And then probably the most useful in terms of teaching right now would be the tools that allow us to do flipped and blended learning. And that’s everything from a platform to actually store and organize this stuff to give kids access to here’s a lesson on this. Here’s a lesson on this. And then you can really personalize and differentiate that way to the tools to create those lessons themselves.

Screencasting tools went right, that was really my first love of technology. That’s the first thing that busted me out of the Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, you know, basic internet. That’s all the tech I know how to do with learning how to do a screencast video, and all of a sudden, I thought, Oh, my gosh, I could do a screencast video on anything I could, I could make a PowerPoint and run the slideshow and do a lecture I can show people how to do stuff online.

And I just I was so addicted to making videos for things. So learning how to do that process, how to create a video and then distribute it somehow, whether it’s through YouTube or something. It’s super empowering for teachers because we’ve got so many teachers out there who have all this knowledge.

And the idea that in 2019, you would have to manually deliver that knowledge to people face to face every single time is just like, No, you need to do it once really well. And then you can replicate it over and over again. So those kids can benefit from it over and over again. So those would be some of the biggies that I would say and you know, kind of curation tools, collaboration tools, and the all the different slipped and blended learning tools would be really, really essential, I think for any teacher to be learning.

Kim  20:41  

Now, let’s say that I teach math. And we’re talking about, you know, like what kids can do in terms of final products with those tools. So as a teacher, you know, I’m used to giving math problems, and we solve them together. And maybe we’ll do like a word problem. And they have to, you know, just and all this information they’ve already learned. So how can I incorporate something like, you know, flipped learning or some kind of curation tool in my classroom?

Jennifer  21:13

Well, let me think about for flipped learning, especially with math, because math, the lessons are so sort of discrete, and here is the skill. And here’s how you do it. And here are some examples.

So I feel like math really lends itself well to flipped and blended learning because you just stick your lectures on videos, and you get them nice and organized. And you can send students to the ones that pertain to skill area that they need. And then in terms of like a final product for students. Something like a curation tool could be great for a math proud product in terms of students connecting what they’re learning to stuff that’s going on in the real world, whether it’s just collecting samples, maybe, because with curation tools, you can be collecting images, you can be collecting news articles, you can be collecting, you know, videos, and so, you know, having students gather maybe evidence from the real world of this math concept, that could be one way of doing that.

Kim  22:13  

That’s synthesizing to when they learned, you know, and a lot of times they wonder, what’s the point of this, especially at math, if you’re not adding or multiplying like that? They’re like, why do we need algebra one of this? So I could see how, you know, if you tell them that they need to curate 10 examples from the real world and any form of media that would then create that aha moment for them. Like, all right, wow, this really does apply.

Jennifer  22:39

Yeah, you know, and two of my favorite math teachers out there, Matt Vaudrey and John Stevens, they wrote a book called The Classroom Chef. And one of the things that they talk a lot about is starting a math unit with a problem instead of starting by teaching them the math. And they do these crazy things like a Barbie zip line, trying to figure out how to get away, from the roof of the school down to the ground, at the highest velocity.

And so they don’t even start with the math, they start by having the kids try to figure out how they do it. And then they bring in the math later. And so I could see them, having students actually use tools like screencasting tools to show how they solved this problem. And actually, like show the math that they used or something almost as like a final presentation or something like that.

Kim  23:29  

Right. And I can see how, especially in math, I wish that my teacher had to use screencasting because I’d see them demonstrate how they did the problem. And I’d want them to demonstrate it at least four more times.

Jennifer  23:44

Yeah, that’s the thing and not and some kids get at one time and they’re like, I got it, stop talking. Let me go and do it. And then other kids are too embarrassed to ask for that repeat. Right? So they just sort of sit there. And then there’s that awful feeling where you just zoned out for a second when the teacher was lecturing, you missed that really one important part.

And maybe it’s the kind of teacher that’s got that kind of personality. It’s like, Well, sorry, you weren’t listening. Right. Good luck, I covered it out. And then you’re embarrassed. And then you’re just like, yeah, and to have that on a video somewhere where you could just go back on your own and review it. Say, yeah, so so many more kids would do better in math if they just had that at their disposal.

Kim  24:20  

That’s true. Now, you’re awesome, because you’ve created a lifeline for teachers who want to use tech meaningfully not just, here’s all the cool things that I can do, but in a way that’s going to impact my students in a positive way. So could you tell us a little more about that?

Jennifer  24:40

Yes, it is. It is my online course it is called Jumpstart. And I originally created it for teachers who were kind of a little tech-phobic and kind of. And that’s why it’s called Jumpstart to really give them hands-on experiences with 10 different types of technology, and show them how to use it in the classroom.

Since I created it, and we’ve had you know, hundreds of students go through it or teachers, I’ve realized that there are a lot of people with tech experience that have taken it just because they want to fill some gaps in or they just want to have a more comprehensive look. So I built this course the same way that I learned educational technology, which was we had to create our own blogs. And we had to do projects sort of as if we were students and so that the students in jumpstart the teachers, they, they create things as if they were the student using the technology.

So it’s built on 10 modules. And rather than the modules being tools, they’re processes, it’s built on 10 different processes so that way because the tools every year, the tools change. And really if it’s like the first module is blogging, basic blogging, it’s understanding how what the back end of a blog looks like. And this is where the teachers set up their course blog where they’re going to actually be submitting their assignments. And once you understand that, then you start to realize, Oh, I could do all kinds, I can do my teacher website, this way I could start to become an education blogger or whatever it is that once you understand that framework, you can really just run from there.

So then we have other modules. One is on curation, where the teachers have to actually use a curation tool and put together a collection as if they were a student who got that as an assignment, we’ve got a screencasting module where teachers have to make a screencast video. And that case, they’re being the teacher and that that one, there’s a podcasting module, there is a digital mind mapping where we’re using some digital mind mapping tools to create graphic representations of ideas.

There is a collaboration module, there’s a flipped learning module, hyper docs, there’s one on QR codes that shows teachers how to actually like use the QR code concept to make physical objects in their classroom kind of come alive with audio and video and other sorts of attachments. It’s a really great course I think because it’s hands-on, you’re not just learning about stuff, you actually have to try it.

And and we really require that teachers be thinking through how this is going to support really deep learning in the classroom as opposed to just doing something that’s cool. And so a lot of times, the students in the course have to resubmit things because they kind of just did something that was sort of, it’s in order to get a certificate of completion, you have to submit your blog, and then I’ve got a team of people that sort of score them. And it’s sort of pass-fail that you won’t you don’t get that certificate of completion unless you have sort of done the course with integrity in terms of like really creating good lessons.

Basically, what the idea is, we want these teachers to be able to take this stuff back to their classrooms and use it and use it really thoughtfully, right. There’s two different versions of the course, jumpstart basic is open all year long, it’s self-paced, the teacher can jump in tomorrow and just start doing it.

And then I’ve got a plus version Jumpstart Plus, which is cohort based. We’ve got an online forum that teachers join, I’ve got a calendar of deadlines, it’s eight weeks so that you actually stay on track and get it done. And then there’s a forum where people can go in and ask questions, and the mentors can help them. These are people that have already gone through the course they did really well. And now I’ve hired them as mentors to help.

So Jumpstart Plus is only open five times a year. And you and I are talking right now in June, the July cohort is about to open. It’s going to be open from June 23 to July 3, and then we get started on July 8. So anybody listening that is interested in the July cohort right now would be a good time to do that.

Kim  29:01  

Right? And where can they find that?

Jennifer  29:02

It’s Okay, if they go there, they will see there’s jumpstart basic and Jumpstart Plus.

Kim  29:25  

And I will put that link in the show notes you guys so that you can easily access that. And you know, I honestly think the cohort would be better because I’ve signed up for online courses before that I didn’t finish and life happened or school started. So this is great in terms of accountability and the tools that you have on there the processes that you have on there. Some of them I already use, and I know that they’re amazing. So I can’t wait for my listeners to sign up for this course.

Jennifer  29:54

Yeah, I hope they will. And we’ve all I do the also the Teacher’s Guide to Tech every year, it comes out every January. And people that sign up for Jumpstart Plus get a little discount on the tech guide. If they want to add that to the course it’s not required for the course to have that. But that’s my like Encyclopedia of tech tools to make it quick and easy for teachers to find what they need. And it breaks down tech tools into like 40 different categories of what they do. So it just makes it really fast for them to find those.

Kim  30:24  

Okay, so apart from the Jumpstart course, where else can my listeners get more valuable content from you.

Jennifer  30:32

They go to, that is where I have everything. I have classroom products and my blogs and everything. And there’s links to my podcasts. I’ve got 124 episodes now of my podcasts that I’ve been doing for years and years. So if they’re a listener of yours, and they’ve never heard of mine. There’s all that for them too.

Kim  30:53  

Your podcasts and also Angela Watson’s are the two that got me inspired. And I have already been listening to your podcast. So I highly recommend that one to you guys. You need to subscribe to that.

And also, you know, I’ve been following your blog for a while as well. And so I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas. I recently did one of your narrative units that you sell on Teachers Pay Teachers site. I’m terrible at teaching narrative. And I said, Kim, you need to suck it up and figure this out and make it work.

Yes, my students loved it. And it just made it so much easier for me to describe all the different parts of a narrative. Like in my mind, I know what should be there, but I couldn’t extrapolate that it’s apart. So thank you for that resource.

Jennifer  31:37

Oh, I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled to know that you used it. Yeah, that’s one of my favorite things to teach. So I’m glad I could help.

Kim  31:43  

Well, thank you so much for taking the time, Jennifer, I really appreciate it.

Jennifer  31:47

Thank you, too. Thanks so much for having me on.

Kim  32:48  

Okay, you guys, I told you that that was going to be an awesome episode. I don’t know about you. But I love talking to Jennifer and learning from all of the wisdom that she has to share with us. So here’s some of my key takeaways.

First of all, I love that she talked about backwards design about thinking about not just you know, what are all the fun things that you can do with technology. But where does it actually fit into your lesson? So you want to think about the end? First, what do you want your students to learn? What do you want them to demonstrate?

And then think of you know what lessons you’re going to teach, so they can kind of master skills in order to reach that end. And then where does the technology fit into that? I think it’s really important. That way, you’re not just using tech for the sake of using tech. But it’s very purposeful. And sometimes you don’t even need technology. In certain parts of your unit, you just need it for parts that students couldn’t do without the tech, for example, doing any kind of curation or research.

I also really appreciated that she talked about some of the different tools that she thinks are impactful, such as curation. So such as blogging, a lot of teachers have been blogging, and if you haven’t started, you know, there’s never a better time to start blogging and even having your students blog, I’ve actually had my students blog and that kind of upped the ante.

And it made, what they were writing more purposeful, and they really took it seriously, because they’re like, oh, there’s going to be an audience who’s going to read what I’m writing. So when it came to me asking them to proofread, and I was like, you know, your spelling is wrong on that your capitalization isn’t quite right there, they understood that there were high stakes because it was going to be put out into the public. So, you know, blogging is something else that I think is really impactful, both as teachers and for students.

Also, if you’re kind of risk-averse, in terms of technology, and you’re thinking, I’m kind of scared of it, I’m worried about what the students are going to do when they have it. It’s just like having anything else in your classroom. If you handed out markers to your students for a project, they could color on the desk, they could color on each other. But what are you doing that’s keeping them engaged? How are you monitoring the classroom? What type of relationship do you have with the students so that they’re not coloring on everything? And so the same thing goes with the technology. What are you doing so that students aren’t compelled to, you know, play a game or message each other?

Now, don’t get me wrong, students will, no matter what, but in my classroom, they have fewer opportunities to do that, because of the way that I paste my lessons.

So I really want to emphasize the importance of her Jumpstart course, I really think that especially as a new teacher, in this time of the year, you know, at the time of the recording, it’s summer, there’s no better time for this type of professional development. And the fact that you have to submit assignments, makes it so that there’s some accountability there. So that it’s not just another course that you’re going to sweep under the rug and do some day.

And even better is her Jumpstart Plus, because it’s the cohort of other teachers. And there’s that sense of camaraderie, there’s that sense of we’re all in this together. And we’re helping each other out. And I think that if you were to take these 10 modules that are in her course that go through different processes of, you know, thinking about technology, you’re going to start off the year, and you’re going to be so pumped and ready to use even a few of them into your teaching, you don’t necessarily have to use all 10 at once.

But you’re going to find that you can create far more engaging and impactful lessons if we’re using the technology that she mentions in this course, or not just mentioned that she teaches in this course. So I definitely want you to head over to And you can find that more information about that.

Now, I want you to to know that the signup for this is a fairly short window of time, you have until June 23, which was yesterday, all the way until July 3, and after that doors are closed for the cohort.

And you guys, this isn’t going to open up again until October. And you know, as well as I do that trying to take a course while also doing back to school stuff, not as ideal. The best time for professional development is during the summer. So you should jump on this right now. and head over to

And remember, you deserve to know how to use this technology and feel confident about it. Also think about when you’re having your evaluations and when other teachers are observing you and here you are as a first, second or third-year teacher, and you’re using technology in these innovative ways. That’s definitely going to your colleagues and your administrators.

And also think about the types of engaging lessons that you can create for your students if you know how to not only use them. I mean, it’s one thing to know how to use technology, but how to purposefully plan with that technology that just takes it to another level.

So again, that website is

So thank you again for hanging out with me today. I know that you got so much out of this episode and I really thank Jennifer for coming on and taking the time to do this and I really hope that you guys have a fabulous week.

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