Five Exercises to Strengthen your Tech Skills

  • Elementary
Derek Severson

Using technology shouldn’t be scary. But let’s face it…using technology can be scary.

I love technology, but in no way do I call myself an expert. I am extremely confident using some technology, yet a complete amateur using other technology. My tech skills vary from “Novice” to “Leader.”

Through my experiences over the past decade in the classroom, I’ve grown accustom to implementing technology into all aspects of the lessons I teach. Why? Because technology kicks butt! I’ve learned increasing my tech skills saves me time and makes my job much easier. Saving time and increasing productivity in the classroom are my motivators to continuously seeking out the newest and greatest device or program.

My GOAL is for you to FIND YOUR MOTIVATION and increase your tech skills in your classroom. The hardest part…GETTING STARTED. We all have ideas we play out in our heads, yet have difficulty acting on them. I’ve gone to the gym many days in my head, yet I haven’t gone to the gym all of those days. On those days where I procrastinate and ignore that thought of going on a run or playing racquetball, I find myself lacking the key recipe to starting anything…MOTIVATION.

These FIVE SIMPLE EXERCISES will kick-start your motivation to strengthen your tech skills.

Before you begin, you will need: 5 pieces of paper, 1 writing utensil, and a quiet space.

Exercise 1: What Do You Know?
Grab your first piece of paper and start listing everything you KNOW about technology. Specifically, list any devices, programs, or social media platforms you have had any experience with in the classroom. Once finished rate your experience level with on the traffic light scale below.

traffic light scale

The GOAL of this exercise is to take a step back and reflect on your experiences and determine your areas of strength (LEADER) and your areas of weakness (NOVICE) you would like to improve. The results may surprise you. My guess is your experiences don’t all rest in the same color.

Exercise 2: What Do You Want to Know?
Grab another piece of paper and start listing anything you want to know. Maybe you saw a colleague using a new program. Maybe you made a mental note of a device you saw at a professional development.

The GOAL of this exercise is to determine at least one program or device you would like to build your knowledge and experience with.

Exercise 3: What Are Your Needs?
Grab another piece of paper and start listing what technology or tech skills you need right now. If you’re having difficulty narrowing down your choices, or simply don’t know where to start, try thinking about areas in your teaching you would like to make more efficient. Would you like to cut down on time administering assessments? Would you like less paper work? Would you like to add more visual aids to your lessons?

The GOAL of this exercise is to determine your essential needs. Basically, if a tech skill will improve your productivity and efficiency in the classroom, YOU SHOULD WRITE IT DOWN!

Taking time to reflect on what you know is the first step
to learning what you don't know.

Exercise 4: Who Can Help You?
Grab another piece of paper and start thinking of those colleagues or resources available to you for help. Think of others in your department you can chat with. Think of those in your district you can reach out to. Think of any resources you can search for on the internet.

The GOAL of this exercise is to determine resources (already available to you) that will strengthen your knowledge and increase your confidence when using.

Exercise 5: How Can You Help Yourself?
Grab your final piece of paper and list how you can motivate yourself to get started and learn new tech skills. Maybe it’s devoting a planning period to investigating technology. Maybe it’s attending a tech-based professional development. Maybe it’s a quick YouTube search. Most importantly, help yourself in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident you can learn.

The GOAL of these FIVE exercise was to motivate you to GET STARTED. This can only be done if you find time you can devote to learning. So find that time!

I am always looking for new ideas I can share with the Health and Physical Education teachers I support in my district.

If you use tech skills to enhance your instructional strategies, save time, or change up your lesson structure, what are your recommendations? Don’t forget to share your experiences with your colleagues!

  • Assessments
  • Media
  • Physical Education
  • Teacher Leadership
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