It goes without saying that digital tools bring out the best element in the teaching and learning experience. Amidst the picturesque environment, the following questions kept on raging in the teachers’ mind:
How do I use Twitter in teaching?
When do I start using Flipped Learning?
Can Pod-cast be used for a large class?
How do I make Moodle fun?
These are the type of questions which are commonly asked by the teachers. Unfortunately, there are some who will be drowned and defeated by these unanswered questions. At the end of the day, they become the Grinch of Digital tools. It is somehow sad to see such outcome. It is a losing situation for both the teachers and the students.
Are there any keys to unlock this plague?
The answer: Yes. There are FOUR keys to unlock the frustration and throw a lifeboat to bring back the Grinch of Digital tools into the path of the Digital Tools Fairy.
Key 1: Start with Short and Simple
When I was using digital tools for my classes, I was carried away by my excitement. I wanted to do big and complicated. I wanted a flashy entrance with a flashier ending. I thought it will not do if it is not big and complicated. The vision crumbled. I received a reality check. For someone who is new to applying digital tools to teaching and learning, try something simple, within your capacity. Once you get the hang of it, as Buzz Lightyear from ToyStory says, “To infinity and beyond.” Now the question: Where can I get the ideas to start? My reply: Please proceed to Key 2.
Key 2: Google
There are plenty of resources out there to get the ball moving. Many teachers from all over the world have tried and in fact, blogged and reflected on applying digital tools for teaching and learning. Some even created recipes for teaching in a blended environment in the form of e-book. The best part, some of the e-books are free to download. All you need to do is download these precious things and replicate some of the steps. Reason being, their students and teaching content will be different from our local shores. Hence, there is a need to tweak some parts of the recipes. Another cool part for this Key; is the creativity aspect. I am amazed to read so many brilliant ideas in bringing out the best in the digital tools.
This brings us to Key 3.
Key 3: Try and try again
Applying digital tools for teaching and learning is not a first time perfect success story. There will be the unexpected issues which can throw you off the platform. But, you see, that is the best part. When issues happen, I use that to polish my steps in applying digital tools. I remember at one time, I applied YouTube for teaching and learning for three semesters. Each semester brought out something new which I did not foresee even though I felt at first I was meticulous in my teaching plan. So, do not let one failure or mistake or “I am not getting anywhere” or “I hit the wall” clip your Fairy wings.
Key 4: Attend seminars / webinars / conference
The final key will be to attend seminars / webinars / conferences. No, you don’t need to buy an international plane ticket to attend these events. In fact, in Malaysia, there are such activities all year round organized by our local higher institutions. One will be spoilt with the numerous choices. Some are free while some are not. Even with a fee-stamp, it is an opportunity which should not be passed. By attending these events, you will have the chance to network either with the speakers or participants whom can help in the gaining the upper-hand in the Technology Integrated Learning Environment.
With the FOUR KEYS in your possession, you have officially gained the upper-hand in the technology integrated learning environment. Time to get those Digital tools Fairy wings!
Fairy Image taken from http://images2.layoutsparks.com/1/219811/little-fairy-cartoon-anime.jpg