By Teachers, For Teachers
Today’s classrooms are much different than they were a decade ago. A decade ago, if you were to walk into an elementary school classroom, you would see students sitting in rows reading from a textbook, or completing a worksheet. The teacher would be strategically placed in front of the classroom lecturing to her students, and each student would be taught the information in the exact same way as his classmate. In today’s classrooms, the desks are arranged so students can work collaboratively -- the teacher isn’t just a lecturer, but a facilitator or a guide for her students.
Today’s classrooms have computers, iPads, and Smart boards, and other types of technology in the classroom. Students may still be taught the exact same lesson, but today’s teachers know that all students learn differently. You would see several students working on the same lesson, but they would be using a different method to get the same answer. Many of these students would be using new, innovative technology in the classroom versus reading from a book, or completing a worksheet.
The digital world has so much to offer. As digital tools improve, so does the education for our students. Digital learning has the potential to reach more children than ever before. It has the ability to motivate the unmotivated. It also has the potential to create more career opportunities for teachers.
As technology advances, teachers must advance with it. This means professional development courses become particularly important. Digital technology makes it possible for teachers to learn quicker and better. It allows them to connect with other teachers, and it has the potential to boost the effectiveness of ordinary, average teachers. It has the ability to turn boring, non-innovative lessons into fun and engaging ones.
But, with the all of these rewards, there comes a price. Being a teacher in the digital world can be quite overwhelming. There are so many new innovative tools that many teachers feel they can’t keep up with them. Or they feel they are not given the support on how to effectively integrate them into their classrooms. One thing that everyone can agree upon is that a teacher’s role is changing, and technology in the classroom is here to stay.
Out with the old and in with the new is the motto for most up-and-coming teachers. If you are a college student at the beginning of your career, then you know that educational technology is the way of the world in today’s classrooms. Veteran teachers must learn how to adjust to these new changes, both inside of the classroom as well as outside of the classroom. Inside of the classroom, teachers need to learn how integrate technology, such as using computer programs, iPads, and Smartboards. Outside of the classroom, many teachers are learning how to navigate their way through the Internet by having classroom websites and e-mailing parents. Long gone are the days that paper notes are sent home, and the parent/teacher communication that is face-to-face. Today, teachers are receiving texts, e-mails, and instant messages from concerned parents. As the world adapts into this digital age, teachers must follow.
What lies ahead for teachers in this digital era? As conventional classrooms continue to transform into digital ones, we will see teachers delivering instruction through multifaceted modes of learning. Digital enriched content and personal learning will be at the forefront, as will collaborative and interactive learning. The integration of technology in the classroom has led to many new trends. For starters, some classrooms allow students to bring in their tablets, while others allow students to use their smartphones to look up answers. As the digital world develops, the education system adapts. Being a teacher in the digital era means being flexible, and being able to adapt to change. For what lies ahead? We can only imagine how technology will be to our benefit as well as our students.
What do you think of being a teacher in the digital era? Do you like it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would live to hear what you have to say
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.