New Year's Day is traditionally the time when we look back on the past 12 months and make resolutions for the next 12. If you're looking to set a goal for yourself professionally, why not focus on technology integration? This year, think of an area where you can grow!
Here are a few ideas of where to concentrate your energy as you make technology goals for the upcoming year.
Choose a New Tool Each Month
Whether you have one laptop or a class set of tablets, there are tons of educational technology tools to explore. Choose one new tool to try out each month. This will give you enough time to really see if it works with your teaching style and if it is relevant to the content you're teaching. If you love it, add it to your technology tool belt and keep using it for the rest of the year. If it's not for you, at the end of the month move on to the next one.
Join a Twitter Chat
All around the globe, educators are doing exciting work in their classrooms. Instead of just following a couple of your favorite teachers and education organizations, engage with your peers in a Twitter chat. There are weekly chats on a wide range of subjects. Follow the hashtag to read about what other people are saying and post your own answers to questions posed by the chat's facilitator. You're sure to leave with ideas and inspiration to take back to your classroom.
Host a Google Hangout
Even if you just try it out with family first, host a Google Hangout to connect your computer screen with friends from around the country. Once you're comfortable, try using this tool for virtual office hours, in place of committee meetings, or to connect with former colleagues and alumni.
Use Your Phone
This year I've shared some of my favorite technology tools that you can use straight from a smartphone. If you're uncomfortable using your phone during instructional time, consider it as a handheld device for entering grades, updating a class blog, or scrolling through tweets when you're on the go. A smartphone can be used as a classroom and time management tool.
Check Out Pinterest
Pinterest is a fantastic resource for teachers! It's a place where educators can gather ideas for organizing their classroom, develop engaging activities and just get excited about teaching. This year, set yourself a goal of trying two new ideas a month that you've found on Pinterest. Instead of just bookmarking your favorites, commit to putting these great ideas into action.
It's so important to open students' eyes to the world around them. If the days of pen pals are long gone in your classroom, why not find another class to Skype with? Whether they're down the block, across the country, or five time zones away, connect with a class in a different community.
Share Your Story
You are sure to have some great success stories this school year, so why not share them? This might mean starting your own blog, tweeting out something great that happened during your day, or finding an old colleague or classmate on Facebook. Use the Internet to connect, share and inspire other teachers by finding a platform to share your triumphs!