The Secret to Encouraging Reluctant Teachers to Use EdTech

The beauty of educational technology (EdTech) is also it’s biggest hurdle:  there is always something newer and better.

For some teachers, finding out about the latest and greatest EdTech is invigorating, challenging, and rewarding. They can’t wait to try something new and see if it will help their students.

For some teachers, finding out about the latest and greatest EdTech is paralyzing, intimidating, and draining. They don’t know where to start, so they refuse to learn and feel defeated. They say things like “There’s just so much. I don’t know even know where to start” or “I’m not like you. I’m so far behind that I’ll never catch up.”

I don’t buy it. My response is always the same for teachers who fear integrating technology into the classroom: “Start with what you know.”

This artwork hangs in my office as a daily reminder for me and my colleagues to avoid the analysis of paralysis:

A reminder hanging in my office (courtesy of Hugh MacLeod)

“If in doubt” by Hugh MacLeod

That’s what I would tell students. Why not tell teachers the same thing?

Start with what you know.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate this:

A friend of mine teaches Geometry and coaches football. Last week his kids were fighting off the flu and it’s still hanging around. As a result, he missed a few days last week and he’ll be out all of this week. That’s not good for him, his kids, or his Geometry students.

I suggested he create some video lessons for the sub to play so he and his students wouldn’t fall too far behind. I told him about apps like ShowMe and Educreations, but without an iPad to use, he was stuck. He went home, did a little research, and found something that might work for him… but sadly after trying to figure it out, it just didn’t work.

He texted me pretty bummed and said he’d just find another worksheet for his students to do while he was gone. I suggested he record a video with his iPhone (which he knows how to do). He could angle the camera on a piece of paper and teach his lesson with pen and paper. When he finished, he could send the video for the sub to play.

He loved the idea and then said rather than emailing the video, he’d post it on HUDL— a program he knows well from watching, editing, and sharing game films with other coaches and players.

The next morning he emailed a link to the HUDL video, and when his students came to class, they were able to have a “normal” class day even though their teacher was absent.

The reason this worked is simple:  Instead of being paralyzed about learning something new, my friend started with what he already knew (recording iPhone videos and uploading videos to HUDL) and created a learning opportunity for his students.

That’s how EdTech is supposed to work. It’s supposed to help us in the classroom and give us options that didn’t exist in years past. It should be liberating– not intimidating.

The next time you hear colleagues saying they’re too old to start using technology in class, call them out on it. Tell them to start with what they know. They often know more than they’re letting on. Heck, they probably have more Facebook friends than you do.

 

 

 

Evernote Use #12- Turn a Note into a PDF #50EduEvernote

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting 50 different ways school administrators and educators can use Evernote to be more organized and more effective. I’ll be using #50EduEvernote on Twitter to further this discussion and share ideas. If you’d like, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Evernote Use #12- Turn a Note into a PDF

Evernote has pretty much replaced Microsoft Word for me. As a teacher and now as an administrator, when I’ve needed to create a document (i.e., an assignment, test, weekly faculty memo, etc.), Evernote has become my go-to. As I write and create, my notes are automatically saved and I can work on the document from anywhere on any device!

Last year, since I shared all of our class notes and assignments using a shared notebook, it was important that all of my documents were saved as PDFs.

In the past, I would create the assignment or test in Evernote, then I would copy it to Word, save it as a PDF, and then save it back to Evernote. That was way too much work, but it was the best I knew how to do.

However, recently I discovered any Evernote note can be saved as a PDF, and it’s becoming something I do just about every day. The next time you’re creating a document you need to share with someone, consider creating a PDF with Evernote. Here’s how:

Create a PDF (Evernote for Mac)

Create a PDF (Evernote for Mac)

When you’re finished, the newly-created PDF will be added to a new note in your default notebook.

I like to keep the original and PDF in the same note, so I merge the two notes together by selecting them and then clicking “Merge.”

Note List (Evernote for Mac)

Note List (Evernote for Mac)

Once the two notes are merged, you’ll have a single note with the original content and a PDF copy of it– which is perfect for sharing and emailing.

Merged Note (Evernote for Mac)

Merged Note (Evernote for Mac)

If you’d then like to annotate the PDF, go for it!

I hope this helps and saves you some time.

 

Jordan

 

Evernote Use #11- Annotate a PDF #50EduEvernote

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting 50 different ways school administrators and educators can use Evernote to be more organized and more effective. I’ll be using #50EduEvernote on Twitter to further this discussion and share ideas. If you’d like, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Evernote Use #11- Annotate a PDF

Think of the last time you read a PDF and wanted to highlight the text or make a note. When was the last time someone emailed you a PDF you needed to sign and send back? There are many PDF annotation apps out there, but Evernote may be exactly what you’re looking for. And best of all, once you make the annotations, they are automatically saved.

Similar to annotating an image, annotating a PDF in Evernote is simple and very convenient. Once you open a PDF with Evernote or save a PDF to Evernote, click the PDF annotation button (see below). For the examples below, I’ll be showing the Evernote Mac version, but the features work across all devices.

Annotate a PDF (Evernote for Mac)

Annotate a PDF (Evernote for Mac)

You’ll then be able to highlight, type notes, jot handwritten notes, add a signature, use shapes– basically anything you need to do.

PDF Annotations (Evernote for Mac)

PDF Annotations (Evernote for Mac)

When you’re finished, your annotations are saved to the PDF inside the Evernote note, and if you select “Include Markup Summary,” your annotations will be featured when previewing the PDF in Evernote.

Annotated PDF & Markup Summary (Evernote for Mac)

Annotated PDF & Markup Summary (Evernote for Mac)

If you ever find yourself wanting to annotate a PDF (or if you need to sign a document), Evernote is the way to go!

In addition to being great for teachers and administrators, using Evernote for PDF annotations is also great for students!