As I engaged in professional development this summer, I thought a lot about how and why teachers use technology in the classroom. Our middle school is lucky to have a 1:1 program, using Chromebooks and the Google apps suite. The number and variations of tech tools available is endless. So how do we decide which ones to use? And how do we implement them effectively?

To answer these questions, I regularly turn to the SAMR model for technology integration:


It helps frame my thinking around what tools would make sense in the lesson, and how I can best utilize the technology to promote student understanding. I am confident that, on a regular basis, our Latin classes are substituting and augmenting activities with google docs and an online textbook.

However, I also want to offer opportunities where technology can modify and redefine the student experience. That’s when the analysis of a new app takes more of my time. Some questions I ask:

What are the learning outcomes? Will this app help me achieve them?
Will this app change the student’s final product
Will this app teach a new digital literacy skill that isn’t already taught?
Will this app create new educational tasks?
Will this app improve student engagement and enthusiasm?

If I can answer “yes” to more than one of these questions, then it’s worth a go.

How do you choose which apps to use in your classroom?