Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
For teachers, every year starts twice: once at the beginning of the school year, and once on January 1st.
By the time the first day of school rolls around, you probably have a list of goals (this year, I will do all my lesson planning at least a week in advance!), some of which get accomplished, and plenty of which go the way of the exercise bike you got from Craigslist that’s collecting dust (it seemed like a good idea at the time).
That’s why the New Year is the perfect time to hit the reset button and set some new goals to start 2020 off on the right foot.
With our list of New Year’s resolutions for teachers, we’ll help you conquer your technophobia and ease you into edtech so gently you won’t even notice! (That is, until the benefits start rolling in.) Get ready to make your teaching life a little easier this year:
1. Find Free Tech Training for Teachers
Your first resolution when it comes to incorporating more technology into the classroom is to get yourself trained. While time and money are always concerns, luckily there’s plenty of free training you can do on your laptop right in the comfort of your own home.
Check out Edpuzzle’s free online teacher PD with courses like Tech Integration, Google Tools, 21st Century Learning, Gamification in Class, and loads more. Curl up on your couch and get certified in the areas of technology that interest you the most, all while you’re in your pj’s!
2. Get on Twitter
Bet you never thought that one of the New Year’s resolutions for teachers would be using social media more!
The truth is that Twitter is an invaluable resource for teachers. By using this social network, you can search for lesson plan ideas, ask questions about your tech struggles and get answers instantly, and expand your personal learning network (#PLN) to include other teachers across the globe.
Once you find your groove with Twitter, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
3. Make Digital Citizenship a Priority for Your Students
You probably already think that your students are leaps and bounds beyond you in terms of technology, and they very well may be, but one of your resolutions should be making sure they’re also good digital citizens.
By educating your students about digital citizenship, you’ll help keep them safe and follow best practices as they navigate the online world both for school and for their personal lives.
There’s no better way to teach it than with an online course on digital citizenship, which you can have them work on in class or at home, and then have a conversation together about what they learned.
4. Use Station Rotations to Start With Technology
If your school isn’t 1:1 and you have limited devices in your classroom, the station rotation model is the way to go! What’s more, this is one New Year’s resolution for teachers that you’ll be able to put into practice over and over again.
To set up a station rotation, you’ll need to plan three or more activity stations that your students can rotate between. Some classic options are a project station, a technology station where students can work with tablets or computers, a teacher-led station where they’ll get personalized attention from you, or a reading/written work station. Student engagement is guaranteed!
5. Harness the Power of YouTube
The idea of using YouTube with your students might seem like an impossible task. Most schools set up filters that automatically block YouTube, there are pesky ads, and there’s a scary amount of inappropriate adult content.
On the other hand, your students are likely watching videos on YouTube every single day and heading to the site when they need to learn something new, when they want to be entertained, or even just out of habit.
The good news is: a safe way to use YouTube really does exist! Just think of all the amazing video content you’ve wished you could share with your students, but then couldn’t because of where it came from. Edpuzzle offers an amazing workaround and lets you use YouTube in the classroom safely through its platform.
YOU choose which videos your students get to see, and then they can only access those video lessons you’ve assigned. And, that way you won’t have any issues with filters! This is one resolution you need to follow through with.
6. Start #appsmashing
If you’ve never heard of app smashing before, just search the hashtag #appsmash on Twitter! Essentially, app smashing is a phrase for using multiple apps for a common assignment or project.
If it sounds complicated, just remember that the goal is to streamline the use of your apps by combining those that naturally complement each other and facilitate creativity.
If you’re looking for some app smashing examples, there are plenty to be found online and on Twitter. Go ahead and Frankenstein your apps – in addition to being an amazing edtech resolution, it’s a lot of fun!
7. Organize Your Blended Learning Toolbox
The next New Year’s resolution for teachers is inspired by the KonMari method, the organizational system devised by Japanese lifestyle guru Marie Kondo.
While you need to have plenty of apps and platforms in your arsenal to be able to app smash, it’s important to let go of those that don’t spark joy for your students and are just taking up space on your device.
So to kick off the New Year, go KonMari on your blended learning toolbox and say goodbye to those apps that just aren’t doing it for you or your students.
8. Record Your Own Teaching Video
Stay with us here… if you think we’re getting overly ambitious with these resolutions, just humor us! Recording your own teaching video is actually not as hard as it looks and can be done with a few simple tools, or just an app!
Studies have shown that students pay more attention during online learning if they’re listening to a familiar voice (aka, yours). If you’re camera-shy, you can always record a screencast, which is simply a recording of your computer screen. This would work for showing off a presentation, doing a math problem, diagraming a sentence, etc.
If you’re ready to take the next step, try recording yourself, either by borrowing some equipment from your tech lab or just using the camera in your laptop or smartphone.
The best part? You can reuse the videos from year to year, so you’re minimizing your workload!
9. Attend an Edtech Conference
One guaranteed way to improve your edtech knowledge is by surrounding yourself with other experts and enthusiasts, and there’s no better place to do it than at a conference.
Ask your school for funding to attend an edtech conference and then report back on all the amazing things you’ve learned. You’ll meet some incredible new people, travel to a different part of the country, and get inspired on how to use technology with a purpose. What could be better?
10. Take a More Active Role in Your PD
This last New Year’s resolution involves you getting the training that you deserve – no more useless, boring PD!
If there’s something specific you’d like to learn about, by all means, let your admins know! Not only will they thank you for the initiative, but your fellow teachers will, too.
Once you’ve started honing your edtech skills and learned all about which apps and websites work the best for your students, you could even host a PD yourself. How’s that for proof for accomplishing your resolutions?
So, feel free to use our list as inspiration for your 2020 teaching resolutions, or write down a list of your own to inspire you in the New Year!