Are you moving from classroom teacher to technology teacher with no real training or notice? So many schools are adding a technology teacher because of the need for students to learn to use devices efficiently. What better person to put into the lab than someone who has been a classroom teacher with lots of tech integration, right? I agree, but I also totally understand how freaked out you might be right now!
In this post I’m providing 7 tips to help ease this transition. Go ahead and bookmark this post because you will be back for the resources.
Follow EdTech Blogs
You want to decrease your learning curve by learning from those who have been there. This blog is a great place to start, but there are a few outstanding blogs that I’m also going to recommend to get you started.
Even if you’ve only been teaching for one year, you’ve probably learned a lot about reading standards. Use this knowledge to dig into the technology standards and see how they fit with the content areas. My first year in the lab I spent the first 6 months figuring out what the standards meant and how to use them to teach. I ended up making I Can Statements and Essential Questions (back then they didn’t exist yet) and that really helped me to put it all together.
Pre-assess Student Abilities
As a classroom teacher I’m sure you nailed pre-assessments! Use this to help you decide where to start with each grade level. You could make your own, or find a set on Kahoot or Quizlet to get you started. Once you’ve figured out what your students know, you can design projects right where they are. What I found with my youngest students was that they had VERY different ability levels. Some had never used a mouse or trackpad because they only had experience with touchscreen devices. So, I spent a lot of time on mouse and trackpad skills. Those students who already had beginner experience could get more out of the lessons (learning letters, numbers, etc. while using a mouse and navigating the Internet) while still building their skills.
Connect with Classroom Teachers
You’re actually going to get to know every teacher in the school in a different way now. You get to say hi to them every time they drop off their class, which is amazing for building relationships. Take the time to ask them what they are working on this quarter. Take this information and integrate it into your tech lessons. For example, I do a 4th grade project on figurative language and I time it to go along with when they are covering this in class. In my lab they are learning to use PowerPoint, but I framed it around showing what they know about Idioms. We shared the finished products with the classroom teachers so they could give an ELA grade and I had a tech data point. This is just a quick example of how you can make it more meaningful for your students while also having classroom teacher buy-in.
Seriously, Google and YouTube will be invaluable. Never be ashamed of not knowing how to do or fix something. There is guaranteed to be a tutorial out there somewhere, and you’ll look like the hero once you’re done.
Good Teaching is Good Teaching
75% of the job is good teaching. Use best practices for introducing lessons with an engagement piece, support students where they are skill-wise, and track your data to make informed curriculum decisions. You’ve got this! The 25% tech will come with time and practice, but isn’t the most important thing.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Check out the Home tab on this site for some free technology lessons: k5technologycurriculum.com. Don’t struggle more than you have to. If you stay with this job for multiple years then you will start to design your own lessons, but you don’t have to do that your first year. Seek out prepared lessons and curriculum so that you can focus your energy on facilitating your students’ learning. When I first started in the lab there was NO technology curriculum. I didn’t even have a specific set of standards to follow. In the end, I created my own curriculum and it took 3 years until I was content with it. While it is awesomesauce to have full freedom, it can be really overwhelming.
Would you like to try my K-5 Technology Curriculum for 30 days to see if it is a good fit for your students? Click here and use the code TRYK5TECH1 at checkout to get the first 30 days for just $1!
Bonus Tip: Find your Professional Learning Community
I have a digital one because I was the only one at my school teaching tech. Learning from and with other tech teachers will be a huge shortcut for you. Join my Technology Teacher Talk Facebook Group!
Oh my goodness thank you so much!!! I am leaving the classroom after 22 years (elementary) become the tech teacher for our school. I have no idea where or how to start and we now implementing the new tech standards for our state (gulp)… your site has saved my sanity!
I am here to help! I hope you love teaching tech!
I love your blog ❤️ I’m the new technology teacher for the whole school since the beginning of the school year (in Argentina it goes from March to December).
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thank you so much for sharing all that you know about moving from the classroom to a computer lab. I’m leaving the classroom and entering a lab (specials) after teaching for 26 years. To say I’m a bit nervous would be correct. I have so much to learn, but I’m ready. Thank, again.