By Teachers, For Teachers
Which technology in the classroom skills do you think every teacher should know?
You would be surprised at how many educators lack the basic skill of navigating their way through the Internet. But, if you think about it, many veteran teachers are not used to technology in the classroom. The traditional classroom (when they started teaching) only had maybe one computer, if they were lucky. So these skills that many of us think every teacher should know might be be absent.
However, it is extremely important for all teachers (especially seasoned vets) to “Be in the know” with 21st century technology in the classroom skills. These are the skills that our students will need in order to survive in the working world.
Here is a list of the top 10 technology in the classroom skills that every teacher should know. While this list may seem basic to some, these are the skills that will help to propel students into the future.
Many teachers lack the basic skills of executing rudimentary Internet searches. Teachers need to be taught how to search the web more effectively so that they can pass on these skills to their students. One tip that teachers should know is that if they want to search for something from a credible resource like from an “edu” or “org,” all they have to do is type “edu” or “org” with parenthesis into a search engine like Google and it will show all the websites that end in those letters. Teachers need to get back to the basics and review or learn how to do search as well as learn keyword searches.
Microsoft Office is still very much a vital tool. Knowing how to navigate your way through Word, Excel, and Outlook may seem like a thing in the past, but these programs are still very much used in today’s classrooms (and in corporate offices!). PowerPoint presentations are also still used in classrooms. Google Docs is also widely used throughout school districts. It enables teachers and students to create, edit and share and store files with others users. Much like Microsoft office, users can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and such, but with the added benefit of the cloud so that they are store and share everything.
Online networking is now becoming part of the job if you want to keep up with the times and be relevant to students and parents. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are widely used among students and parents. Social media expands communication not only with your students and their parents, but with your fellow educators and administrators. It gives you access to knowledge that you may have not had before.
Technology allows educators to collaborate with their fellow colleagues online. Educators can use several tech tools to share and receive creative ideas that can help them in the classroom. They can visit a teacher’s blog to connect, or connect with educators via social media or online. Technology can make a teacher’s job much easier when they have access to a few quick tools with which they can collaborate with others.
While web navigation skills may seem like a piece of cake for many of you, some people do not know how to make their way through a website. Every teacher needs this basic skill, because before you know it, all classrooms will be paperless, which means the way parents and students will get their information will be online.
Individuals these days seem to be more visual than in the past. This may be because of all the new technology that is at our fingertips. With that said, video learning is among the top skills that today’s educators need to have. Teachers must know how to create a video and share it. Many teachers are now posting their lessons on YouTube, while others are using video conferencing to connect with other classrooms from across the globe. Video teaching and learning is gaining so much momentum that all teachers must have this skill if they want to keep up with the times.
For the teachers that prefer to collaborate off camera, blogging is another important tech skill to have. Blogging allows users to share their thoughts and ideas in an online format without having to visually see anybody. It’s quite easy to learn, and teachers can create a free website if they want to blog about their lessons or connect to other teachers. Classroom websites are also becoming increasing popular. In today’s college courses, perspective teachers are now being taught how to build a classroom website.
Smart technology takes the form of an interactive whiteboard that many teachers use in their classrooms. They allow new ways for teachers to teach and for students to learn. Teachers find it easy to differentiate learning because this technology is able to support a wide variety of learning styles. It is also interactive, and you can easily access online resources. Smart boards are easy to learn, and are an ideal tool to use in the classroom. This is a piece of technology that educators need to learn if they want to grow in their field.
Digital citizenship is a real term that is extremely important in this new digital world that we live in. Teachers need to be prepared to serve as a model on establishing norms in the digital age. There is no doubt that this term came out of a world of cyberbullying, and teachers need to understand, as well as teach, their students the skills to be successful and safe in this informational age. Cyberspace is a place where students and teachers alike participate and use technologies. While participating in this digital world, teachers need to feel, as well as provide, their students with a sense of comfort and ease.
Many school districts are opting for a class set of tablets versus a class set of laptops or computers. Some schools even have a “Bring your own device” policy, where students are now allowed to bring their mobile devices into the classroom. Teachers need to know how to navigate their way through a tablet as well as how to use a few basic apps. Teachers can show their students how these devices can be used not just for personal use, but to learn as well. Many students think they are just for texting and playing games. However, there is a lot more to a tablet then taking pictures and being on Twitter and Snapchat. Educators can show their students how they can reap the benefits of learning through this piece of technology.
What other tech skills do you think are essential for 21st century teachers to have? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.