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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Back-to-School Technology Checklist

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

As the school year begins and teachers inventory their supplies, set up and decorate their classrooms, it's important to think not only about how they will use technology in their classroom, but about how they will ready their classrooms and their procedures for using technology. The following checklist will vary depending on the kinds of technology in use, the access teachers have to technological devices and the nature of services (like wifi) available at the school.

Technology in the Room Full Time

Many teachers are lucky enough to have all-day access to computers or other technological devices in the room. As we're kicking off a new school year, here are some things to think about.

  • How will you arrange the room so that all of the students can see the board?
  • How will your students travel through the room to avoid upsetting hardware?
  • Where can you effectively store your netbooks/laptops/tablets to maximize learning space and provide clear pathways?

Limited Access to Technology

For those teachers who are not lucky enough to have the technology housed in their classroom, there are other situations to ponder.

  • If you're signing out a projector to place on a desk from time to time, where should that desk be located? If you'll be sharing a netbook cart, how easily can the cart be navigated through the classroom entrance? Are the desks or tables arranged so that the cart can be placed in a non-intrusive location?
  • If there is a mobile projector with the cart, is there a clean, white place to project an image? Is the lighting on this surface conducive to image projection? Will you still want space on your dry erase board or chalkboard to write? In that case, you'll need a separate wall for projecting.
  • Another big issue is power. Where are the nearest outlets? Will you need an extension cord? Is there wifi or will you need an ethernet cable to reach the wall? Is there an Internet drop close enough?
  • And, finally, what are the procedures for signing out materials and where do you sign them out?

Technology Must-Knows for Back to School

No matter what your access to technology is or the type of technology you are using this year, make sure you are aware of four things:

  1. What technology do I have access to and for how long?
  2. Who are the point people to talk to about my technology needs or issues?
  3. What are the guidelines for teachers? For students?
  4. What is my responsibility for the technology? And what is the students' responsibility?

Getting all of the answers to these questions squared away now will allow you to focus on what really matters: teaching!

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