How to implement digital tools successfully in your classroom?

Written by Davy De Rijbel on May 6, 2019 3:58:46 PM Theme Community, Education

Technology has been part of our lives for a long time. It makes our lives easier but sometimes it also causes frustration or creates a feeling of unsafety. Even in education, technology is considered a necessity.

But technology is evolving fast, which makes it almost impossible for teachers to understand all the newest apps, not to mention integrate apps efficiently in the classroom. Every teacher uses digital tools differently.

Whether it's an interactive whiteboard, tablets, chromebooks, a virtual learning environment or education software, all these tool have a different usage and learning curve. You can read all about it in this blog!

3 simple stages for a successful implementation!

In this blog we want to clarify the adoption of technology with some examples, aimed at helping schools create an action plan for implementing new technology.

If we want to focus on the learning process of our students, we have to do the same for our teachers.


If you would ask students today what the link is between these 2 objects, they will probably not know the answer.

However, it wasn't that long ago that we were sitting whining in the car because the tape got stuck and we had to wind it up again with a pencil or a pen.

But who would have thought that today, in 2019, we would be using screens the whole day and that we would listen to music mainly online?

The adoption of technology is accelerating within our society.

Whereas in the past it took decades before you could find a telephone in every household, it only took a few years to see that 81% already uses a smartphone.

8 years ago that was only 24%. A huge growth in a short time.[i]


This digital evolution has a huge impact on our education today and tomorrow.

How do we prepare young people for an independent life in a world where we develop and use technology that is getting better, smarter and more efficient?

As the ‘Technologiekompas’ from Kennisnet indicates very correctly: “Education is evolving to a future where the teacher and technology, together, educate the student and teach them knowledge and skills that are needed for a meaningful and successful life. Technology won't able to do that alone, but neither will the teacher.”[ii]

The "Benefit Map" is presented in the same Kennisnet publication. It can help you to put your own IT portfolio together with the right balance between risk and return.

Only if the school, as well as the teachers and pupils can see the impact of the selected ICT resources, then the acceptance will be high and the implementation will proceed smoothly.


Let's take the implementation of an interactive whiteboard as an example. Introducing a new technology has many consequences. Not only for the teacher but also for the students. In the beginning, it is mostly the students' motivation that gets a boost. 

Still, the teacher notices that the interactive whiteboard serves wider purposes and will begin to experiment with different ways of teaching in order to achieve better learning results. Of course that won’t happen automatically.

A good guidance and training are very important for teachers so that they can use the interactive whiteboard more efficiently and interactively.

The adoption of technology is very often described using the SAMR-model[iii]. It helps the teacher understand the different stages during the implementation of technology. There are 4 stages:


  • Substitution: technology is used as a replacement tool. Example: use Google Earth instead of an atlas to search for a place. But what do you gain by replacing (part of) the assignment for an ICT application?

  • Augmentation: technology is used as a replacement tool and provides functional improvement. Example: by using integrated rulers in Google Earth, you can measure the distance between two places. But does the ICT application improve the assignment?

  • Modification: technology leads to an improvement of the assignment. Example: investigate a location (while in the classroom) by using the 3D layers in Google Earth. But did the assignment change enough through the use of ICT?

  • Redefinition: technology is used in a transformative way during an assignment that would not have been possible without using the app or the digital application. Example: take a guided tour in Google Earth with voice-over and then share it online. But wouldn't the assignment have been possible without using ICT?

We have tried to reduce this model to 3 stages that are easy to describe and we apply them to the implementation of the interactive whiteboard:

Old things in old ways

In this first stage, the teacher uses one and the same teaching method as he did before. This is called, doing “old things in old ways”.

The interactive whiteboard is only used for writing as a glorified chalkboard.

In this stage, the usage is restricted to playing videos, browsing websites, opening and looking at documents in Word, PowerPoint and other application software.

Teachers gratefully use online textbooks from publishers. This method is used by 90% of entry-level interactive whiteboard users.




Old things in new ways

After following a more in-depth training, teachers notice that they can achieve more by using the interactive whiteboard software.

The methods and materials that were used before, are now used to create new lessons through the features of the software.

From time to time, a lesson plan can be prepared in advance in order to save time in the classroom and to allow students to perform actions on the board (e.g. to solve an exercise on the board).

That way, students become more active and get involved more interactively in class, which improves the learning process.

New things in new ways

In this third stage, the teacher is fully familiar with the possibilities and functions of the interactive whiteboard. Learning assets and methods are adapted to involve the children even more during class.

Each lesson is well prepared and is filled with active working methods (e.g. a quiz, exercises or activities that are shared with the students on a tablet, laptop or chromebook) which allows the teacher to guide, inspire and evaluate the students even better.

If we want to help our teachers to get through these 3 stages in a reasonable way, proper training is essential. Thanks to various training sessions, each teacher can reach the last stage.

More and more often, users make the difference when it comes to success in an educational institution. This is also reflected in our extensive experience in giving good advice and useful tips.

We ensure that the talents, capacities and didactic skills of employees are consistent with the changing goals and expectations of a school and educational developments.

What do you want to achieve? Which results would you like to see, in the short and the long term? What are your ambitions and needs?

We would like to discuss this with you and choose the best solution without losing sight of the learning process.

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[i] Results based on the research on digital media trends in Flanders by IMEC, published in IMEC Digimeter 2018.

[ii] Technologiekompas 2019/2020 -


Davy De Rijbel

Davy De Rijbel

Experienced Teacher, Educational Consultant and Product Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the wholesale industry. Driving the i3ALLSTARS community, bringing a great community of stars together!

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