Putting Tech Before Content– New tech is exciting. Students (and teachers) will be focused on the new devices. It is easy to get sidetracked by the excitement. I spent so much time trying to front load all of the setup, sign up and procedure that I lost something essential to my class. While they were fired up about technology, I had not gotten the students excited about history. Keep your focus on your content. It is your content that defines your class and it is your content that will drive the way you use your device, not the other way around.
Too Much Too Fast– It is hard for students to get comfortable with a new piece of technology unless they have time. Requiring too many new tech competencies to quickly upsets students. They need time to build upon past skills and integrate them with new ones. I buried my students in accounts and passwords. I set up everything I thought I would be using for the year within the first week. It was too much for many students. Focus on fewer more important skills and Scaffold early assignments to build to more complex ones. Think big picture.
Lack of Tech Focus- There will be times where a new technology is AMAZING and perfect to generate more learning and deeper understanding. But there will be times where it is nothing more than a shiny distraction. I am constantly asking myself “Why use this? What is the benefit? What is the loss?” Choose your essential technology carefully. Choose things that support your lesson goals and allow productivity.You can’t do everything and be distracted by every new technology you learn.
No Recovery Time– Students have grasped a new skill and they need time to absorb it, apply it, and use it effectively. When lessons go well and students succeeded I can be too quick to move on the next big idea. I quickly learned that I needed to provide some recovery time for students to get proficient before I could focus on the next tech competency. Stop, and allow them to understand before you present new technology. Beyond just taking it slow (see above) I learned that sometimes you have to take a break. Don’t over complicate this though. Sometimes knowing the right time to proceed is as simple as asking. Trust your students in this process.
Limiting Students to What the Teacher Knows– When given a choice students are going to choose tools that they are comfortable with and that allow them to express what they know. You may not have the slightest knowledge of them or how they work. It is impossible to be proficient at every web tool, app and program available. I have poured myself into learning as many as I can. There are many where I would consider myself an expert but that in no way means that they are the best resource for every student. Don’t be afraid to let students use technology beyond your knowledge base and understanding. Accept that you are student too. Learn.