After a long year of teaching, it's great to have summers off to refocus your energy. But while you're taking that much-needed time to relax, technology trends in education are still going full steam ahead. In order to keep up with new tech tools and trends over the summer, you have to strike the right balance between relaxation and information overload. Here's how I keep up with tech trends in education over the summer.
Read Educational Blogs
The internet is an invaluable tool with an enormous amount of information. With that said, it's become increasingly hard to keep up with all of the educational technology trends because it seems like they change daily. Luckily, teachers, administrators, and technology enthusiasts share their knowledge and expertise through educational blogs. A few of my go-to spots for gaining information are The Ed Tech Round Up, Free Technology for Teachers, and The Innovative Educator. These blogs make it easy to spend my summer on the beach while staying aware of the latest trends in education.
Subscribe to an E-Newsletter or RSS Feed
If you want to stay on top of technology trends in education, all you have to do is subscribe to an e-newsletter or an RSS feed. Instead of spending your summer days scouring the Internet, the relevant information is delivered right to your computer or smartphone. I subscribe to the RSS feed of I Learn Technology, which gives you the latest information on how to integrate technology into your classroom. As far as e-newsletters go, my favorite is EdTech: Focus on K-12. If I'm relaxing by the pool over the summer, I can enjoy reading it on my smartphone or iPad.
Read Relevant Social Media Pages
In today's mobile-centric world, many of us get our news from social media feeds—I know this is one of my favorite ways to gain knowledge! It's easy to just pick up your smartphone and scroll through your newsfeed to learn the latest trends in education. Just about every one of your favorite ed tech blogs or websites will have a Twitter or Facebook page, so follow them to ensure that relevant ed tech news will make it to your feed.
Access an Ed Tech Podcast
Podcasts are the latest way to stay up-to-date with current technology trends. My favorite way to get tech news in the summertime is to plug in my headphones, put the Ed Tech Weekly podcast on, and go for a jog. I not only get to enjoy the fresh air and health benefits of exercising, but I also get to hear about the latest ed tech blogs to follow or the future of ed tech. It's a fun and simple way to learn.
Explore Professional Development Options
By taking a few short courses over the summer months or attending a seminar that touches on ed tech and other trends in education, you can increase your knowledge and readiness so that by the fall you're able to integrate new methods into your curriculum. Your motivation to stay ahead of ed tech trends will help you be as effective an educator as possible.
Summer's also a great time to evaluate whether you'd like to go back to school to earn an advanced degree. You have the time to shop your options and determine whether pursuing an online degree fits your needs. There are many benefits to pursuing an online advanced degree. First, you have a variety of programs and courses to choose from, there's a lower tuition rate (along with a variety of scholarships), and a more comfortable and convenient learning environment (your house). Combine that with the possibility for career advancement once you complete your degree, and it's definitely worth taking the time to consider.
As much as I try to relax, recharge, and refocus during the summer months, I still find myself involved in staying up-to-date with the education world. If I'm not taking an online course or listening to an educational podcast, I'm checking my inbox for the latest news or tutoring someone's child. And that's the job. We expect the best from our students, and we owe them the same by staying up-to-date on education trends and bringing the freshest techniques to our classrooms.