In a recent Academic Coaches Training at LifeBound, some attendees voicedÂ concern about the relationship they had with technology in their classroom.Â Are they supposed to be secondary to the new technology? Or, is theÂ technology supplementary to the educator? When new tools of any kinds areÂ introduced in the classroom, whether they be new pedagogies, electronicÂ tools, assistants, etc., the environment will change and adjustments have toÂ be made. Below I’ve outlined suggestions on positive ways educators canÂ perceive technology so they don’t feel inferior:
- Be the facilitator: Technology isn’t effective if the teacher replacesÂ their presence with multimedia. Technology has the ability to customizeÂ learning in a classroom with multiple learning styles, engage students withÂ interactive examples, and to be creative in a new dimension. Use multimediaÂ tools to enhance the classroom, not supplant the teacher.
- Technology is a form of expression: Technology gives some students theÂ opportunity they’ve been waiting for to express themselves. Some studentsÂ might not be inspired to create a model, write a paper, or give aÂ presentation that represents a piece of literature, an event in history, orÂ a personal story. Using technology, students can create videos, websites,Â video games, music, slideshows, and much more that allow them to expressÂ themselves in a medium they’re comfortable in. Â If students aren’t creating,Â they are bored. Â Way too many American students are bored. Â Technology is aÂ welcome remedy to boredom.
- It’s the tool of the future: 1 in 2 Americans will have a smart phone by Christmas 2011. Educators who resist using technology areÂ putting their students at a disadvantage. They will need to know how toÂ operate basic technology found in the classroom for the rest of theirÂ schooling, their careers, and in life when they need to network, find a newÂ job, or further their education. For educators who are uncomfortable withÂ technology, they can recruit their own students to teach them what they needÂ to learn. Â Teachers will no longer be the “sage on the stage,” but if allÂ students can be sages through collaborative learning and effective use ofÂ technology, then more students will truly learn and more teachers will haveÂ had an impact at the end of the day.
Recently I’ve heard 2 stories of teens that I know dealing with bullying. The families are living in real life nightmares. The statistics about how many people intervene in a bullying situation from this article are frightening.
At the same time the 8 suggestions are a good starting point for any family. It is important to build these skills before they are needed.
In response to: “Be the facilitator: Technology isnâ€™t effective if the teacher replaces their presence with multimedia. Technology has the ability to customize learning in a classroom with multiple learning styles, engage students with interactive examples, and to be creative in a new dimension. Use multimedia tools to enhance the classroom, not supplant the teacher.”
Last summer I had the opportunity to be a part of our interview committee to select a high school history teacher for the small charter school I teach at. After a set of first interviews, we asked a few of them to come back and present a lesson, as we were “students” for the class.
Of the few that we had back two candidates sort of stuck out, and for entirely different reasons. The first, presented a Holocaust lesson that incorporated many different types of technology, including a well-made visual presentation that we followed as he instructed. However, (and not that we make a fully accurate and fair judgment of someone based on two interviews) he appeared to lack the skills of connecting with people, and most likely students, even though you could tell he would be a teacher that would try to incorporate technology in many of his lessons.
The second candidate, under some strange circumstance, had what we would consider little or no use of technology in his lesson. He and his wife were living in North Carolina and both had interviews in Michigan during the same week. As they made the trip to Michigan they met up and stayed with family as they were camping, so after the first interview and as the unexpected offer to come back the next day and teach a lesson to us, he was pretty much had a tent to go back to and prepare.
With that being said, he gave a fantastic lesson. He was extremely interactive, and we had the sense that he was passionate about teaching, as well as building positive relationships.
I felt like the second candidate had a great lesson because he worked hard to prepare and was genuine in his teaching. The first candidate also worked hard, but it was as if he relied on the technology to do the teaching for him.
If you can captivate a classroom of students without all the bells and whistles of technology, I can’t imagine what you could do by implementing technology in your instruction.
Aaron, you make such an important distinction and it is likely at the heart of teaching, with or without technology. Teachers, first and foremost, need an emotional connection before real learning can take place. If they are connected to their own passions and interests, they are much more compelling as facilitators in the age of technology and they are more authentic with students than those who cannot connect to themselves or students. Your interviewing experience is a perfect example of this. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective.
I am happy to hear again that most people believe that technology will not take over the role of the teacher. When hearing about so many schools switching to online learning as its only option, it makes technology seem so “bad” to me. I completely agree with you about how technology should enhance the classroom. I like the idea of students having more options when completing assignments – such as creating videos, songs, powerpoints, etc. You also make a good point when discussing our future. It is the simple truth that students are so tech savvy these days, and will need to be for their future! In some cases, the only chance students will get to use technology is in school because of poverty and other factors at home.
Especially in urban and low-income areas, we need to get parents up-to-speed with where their kids’ skills are technologically. Helping parents with technology, financial self-sufficiency classes and classes to help the earn their GED and college would help a great deal. It is important, as we plan for the future tha the digital divide not divide families. Children can coach their parents in these basic skills and help them to create more opportunities in their personal and professional lives with technology.