By Teachers, For Teachers
In the past five years alone, advancements for technology in the classroom have grown at a rapid pace. Many schools have implemented a few of these new instructional technological tools into their classrooms, while others have employed all of them. iPads, whiteboards, and digital cameras are a just a few of the tools schools have included into their daily lessons.
While research has continually proven the benefits of technology in the classroom, it’s important to note that in order for these technological advances to be an effective tool in the classroom, professional development in the use of the these tools is essential. Through professional development, educators can learn how to adapt their teaching styles to make use for these amazing educational advancements. Here are a few tips to help educators adapt to these new advancements in technology.
Teaching with technology can be challenging, especially when it’s a new tool. With all of the new advancements in technology, it’s hard to choose what’s best to use for your specific objective. In addition to that, integrating that tool can be even more challenging. It’s important to provide teachers with professional development support communities and/or information repositories. These sources will give teachers the support they need while learning about, and implementing new tools into their curriculum.
According to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), teachers who received coaching in a new technological advancement were more likely to implement this method into their classroom than those without coaching. Therefore, it is essential to provide professional development coaching and/or monitoring in each tool that you want integrated into the curriculum.
When students know how to use a piece of technology as well as the teacher, it seems to be more effective then when just the teacher alone knows its use. Adopt a student-centered education program where students can learn how to utilize the tool too. A school-wide assembly or a grade-level program can be quite effective in learning about and implementing new technology into the daily curriculum.
Professional development training and the technical mastery of that tool is important. But, the understanding of why we are using the technology is just as important. Do not just provide educators with the training of how to use the technology, but provide them with the background and benefits of why it’s important that they are using this technology. This way educators will have a firm understanding of not only how to use the tool, but why they are using the tool, as well as its benefits.
While it’s important to learn about new technology in a professional development course, it’s also important that schools have the technology they want the teachers to use in their possession. Studies show that individuals learn best when they are provided with the actual technology, not just by reading about it in a book. If there is a particular tool you would like teachers to use, make sure that you offer a course on how to use it, as well as provide enough of the tools for each teacher to try it out.
Once teachers have integrated the new technology into their classroom, make sure to provide them with the tools to make the integration-method better for the future. Observe teachers and students, ask for feedback, and provide teachers with the opportunity to discuss what they think went well and what did not. Integrating new technology is a process and reviewing outcome data will only help the process go that must smoother in the future.
In this digital age of teaching, educators must be comfortable with co-learning new technological advancements with their students. As the use of technology continues to increase, school leaders must provide teachers with enough support and training so educators feel content to use these new tools in their classroom.
Transforming schools into the digital age will require a lot of work, and schools will go through many challenges. But, with the right leaders in charge, educators can successfully integrate technology in the classroom without a hitch.
What opportunities do you provide for your teachers? What is your technology integration plan like in your school district? Please share your comments in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
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.