Wanted: Tech-Savvy Teachers

Wanted: Tech-Savvy Teachers

On February 6, thousands of educators, students, and schools across the country will celebrate Digital Learning Day, an initiative created by Alliance for Excellence in Education to help teachers highlight and share innovative uses of classroom technology. Most educators agree that integrating "technology for technology's sake" is not good practice, but many see transformative potential in new learning tools.

However, a recent report by the National Association of State Boards of Education suggests that many educators are not yet comfortable with integrating digital tools, which may be holding schools back from adopting new instructional approaches.

What kind of successes have you seen with technology in the classroom? What strategies work best to help teachers to share their technological expertise with colleagues? What can school leaders, policymakers, and teacher preparation programs do to increase teachers' familiarity and skills with technology? What other ideas do you have for minimizing the gap between new technologies and classroom teachers?

Using Technology to Create Authentic Learning Experiences

Meenoo Rami In my last post, I wrote about the potential value of education technology and how it can be used to give power and agency to students to tell their own stories. I got a glimpse of this transformation taking place in my class this quarter. As I contemplated the goals at the beginning of the year, I knew I wanted my students to have authentic experiences as readers and writers. So this quarter, we have worked together to create a teen magazine. Our hope is that this project will inspire other classes to create similar work. (If you ...

With Classroom Tech, the Answers Are in the Questions

Delonna Halliday "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."—Albert Einstein Teachers are creative, inventive and keen problem-solvers. All most of us need is some encouragement to recognize how those skills transfer into adding technology tools into our classroom. People say I'm "smart" because I can use computers well. Truth is, I mess up a lot. I just don't let it get to me. I use that fabulous Ctrl+z to get myself away from an "oops" so I can try again. The learning is in the trying. And that is a change...

How to Be an Ed-Tech Evangelist

Ryan Kinser What does successful collaboration between teachers and ed-tech developers look like? And as the discussions in this forum remind me, what roles must educators play in the face of resistance? For example, after I signed up for a free teacher account with CodeHS, the company's co-founders Zach Galant and Jeremy Keeshin followed up via email. We talked about how to help each other. I figured they could use some feedback to make their product more beneficial to schools. In return, I gleaned their expertise for my students. We've tested their online coding lessons, grown our skill sets, and ...

Play is Good. Purposeful Play? Better.

Bud Hunt It seems that many of us in this discussion are fans of encouraging play and exploration. That's great. I'm certainly a fan, as my previous post should document. But I wonder if I might suggest a bit more structure when it comes to how a teacher working with a new platform, tool, or piece of hardware might begin. I talk and write a lot about the power of purposeful play. Some folks have challenged me when I put those two words together, because playfulness and purpose are sometimes seemingly at odds. But they're not. Playing with a purpose ...

The Tech Shift: From Tried and True to New

Jody Passanisi Ryan Kinser writes in his post that, "There are too many of us who fear technology, who believe sound pedagogy doesn't require it ... ." This is true. It is something that every one of us encounters at our schools. I tried to address this fear in my last post—how playing with technology can help teachers become more comfortable with tech. But to even get to that point, it is important to look at the rationales behind this fear of technology. Understand the Fear Implementing technology in the classroom can be challenging, but no teacher is trying to be difficult...

Teachers and Ed-Tech Developers, Let's Meet

Ryan Kinser After being wowed recently by a behind-the-scenes visit to aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, I implored teachers to help bridge the growing technology gap between their students and tomorrow's careers. Maybe I underplayed a bigger gap: the one between teachers and the tech world. There are too many of us who fear technology, who believe sound pedagogy doesn't require it, or who complain we don't have time/energy/resources to implement it properly. For every one of these well-meaning teachers, there is a tech company that hasn't discovered what tools actually improve student learning or what insight teachers might ...

Keys to Using Classroom Tech: Shifting the Goals, Facing Fears

Delonna Halliday Today's teachers—particularly those of us who graduated from college more than five years ago—must make some cognitive shifts in order to be tech-savvy. Here I discuss just a couple of that have been helpful to me. Shift #1: Recognize technology as a tool for learning, not as the goal of the learning. The other day, I was discussing classroom technology with a good friend. The two of us have worked together for many years, and collaborated on multiple projects. Our conversation centered on this shared observation: While many teachers want to use technology, some seem unaware...

Asking the Right Questions About Classroom Tech

Meenoo Rami What role does technology play in your classroom? What questions do you ask yourself before you choose to use a particular web-based tool or application for instruction? What is your students' impression of your perspective on technology? These questions are worth considering when we talk about encouraging teachers to incorporate technology in the classroom. I often turn to my principal Chris Lehmann's words on technology to guide my use of it in the class. In his keynote addresses, he often says that technology should be like oxygen, "ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible." In other words, technology should get out ...

New Technology for Teachers? Play, Then Create

Jody Passanisi As teachers, we are often asked to incorporate new, cutting-edge technologies into the classroom at the request of our schools. Given the pressure that schools face to stay current, the pressure to implement new technology is understandable. However, putting new technology in the classroom isn't as simple as handing something to a teacher and walking away. Teachers often are wary of new technology, worry about how to use it, and wonder if it is going to require a drastic change in pedagogy. The breakdown often occurs during the introductory phase of a new tech tool. When schools and ...

Want Better Classroom Tech? Give Teachers More Time

Bud Hunt "The subjects . . . may often be suggested by the pupil's observation or personal experience." —Report of the Committee [of Ten] on secondary school studies, from an 1892 meeting of the National Educational Association (p.88) As an instructional technology coordinator for a large school district in northern Colorado, I see an awful lot of interesting uses of technology in the classroom. However, as a professional developer and former classroom teacher, I see too many things done to teachers and students, rather than with them. If we believe that student choice and passion and curiosity are essential to learning, then...

The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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