First and most obvious, strive for consistent use of current technology and resources. Educators no longer have the luxury of developing detailed lesson plans that have the shelf life of a Twinkie. Certainly fundamental aspects of the curriculum may remain constant over time, but how teachers engage students must be relevant and real world. Technology and tech resources change daily, if not almost hourly. It is the nature of the hyper-speed world in which we live. Using yesterday's tools will be noticed by students and their engagement factor may be dialed back as a result.
So how do you stay current? This is the perfect segue to my next aspect of an effective 1:1 teacher. Build a Personal Learning Network(PLN). No doubt you’ve heard this before but maybe you’ve had trouble getting started. It’s really fairly easy. I highly recommend Twitter as a cornerstone of your PLN. Once you create a Twitter account, a quick search using the hashtag #edtech will reveal numerous teachers and edtech folks that you can follow and from whom you can learn. From there, look at who those teachers follow and have as followers and you can quickly build your network of fellow educators. Combined with a tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite, Twitter comes alive with timely and relevant ideas and resources from fellow educators who love to talk about what they are doing in the classroom. One more Twitter tip, don’t treat your twitter stream like email, thinking you have to read everything from everyone. Rather, think of it more as “water cooler” or breakroom/workroom conversations that happen constantly, just jump in as time allows.
Next, one of the best ways to become more effective in a particular area is to teach others about what it is you do. An easy way to teach other teachers is to remember that your PLN is a two-way street. As you begin to follow others, they will most often follow you in return making you part of their network. So not only should you consume content from those you follow, you should create it as well for the benefit of those who follow you. Share what you are doing in your classroom; don’t assume what you’re doing is of no interest to anyone else. Realize also, it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of commonplaceness about what is going on in your classroom and the classrooms around you because you are there everyday and get to enjoy the experiences. Others don’t have that luxury. Also, share what you’ve learned from others even if you haven’t had the chance to implement it in your classroom. You may spark inspiration in someone else through sharing and you’ve created a point of reference for yourself when time does allow for implementation at some future date.
Enjoy what you do. Technology opens the floodgates of raging waters that is innovative teaching resources. If you are unhappy with the way a particular subject is taught from your current resource, chances are your students are too. Lean on your PLN and find another resource or methodology that is more fun and engaging.
This is in no way a complete list of elements to be effective...there are as many teaching and learning styles as there are students in classrooms...but these should help. So stay current, learn, share and enjoy!