The teacher’s importance when introducing technology in class
I recently read this article written by Tom Whitby in Edge ASCD. I have met Tom and I always enjoy his insight. I agree with him on how important the teacher’s role is. If I were to decide I would offer a lot more professional development for the teachers. But you need the teachers onboard first. If they do not agree on using technology in class, PD will not have the desired effect. Possibly the opposite. If you have the teachers onboard you still need the students. I recently was made aware of a critical comment in our national newspaper written by a former student. Always a sad experience to find out that one of your students were so critical to your teaching, In this particular example, the use of technology in class. She had never let me know of this dislike, so it came as a surprise to me. But it reminded me of the fact that you should always ask the students about their opinions, even if you think everyone is onboard. That also applies to asking the teachers as an administrator. And school leaders and teachers should listen to the students. One way of teaching and learning will never fit everyone. But if I had taken the time to ask and explain, and offer alternatives, this student might have shared her feelings to me, not the newspaper! Never assume that the use of technology is what all students and teachers want. Never assume that what seems clear to you is clear to the students. Using technology can be time consuming and also messy sometimes. But perhaps by discussing, assessing and evaluating, we will get there!
Read the extracts from the article in Edge ASCD here:
We are often bombarded with many posts and articles about the successes and failures of technology in education. Too often these assessments are based upon the technology as if it were the only factor having any effect on the students in the classroom. Of course this overlooks something that has been pounded into educators’ heads for years: The greatest influence on students in the classroom is the teacher. That holds true with or without technology in the classroom.The environment for learning is created in the classroom by the teacher. The teacher determines the tools selected for learning in the classroom. The teacher determines how much time each subject gets and what should be emphasized over something else. Yes, there are restraints and mandates placed on every teacher by administration, but the majority of the individual learning environments that directly affect students, are environments made by classroom teachers. Whenever I read an article, or post, pointing out the failures of technology in the classroom, my first question is: How well was that teacher trained in the use of that technology and its new methodology in the classroom? My second thought is: was that technology mandated to be there without teacher buy-in, or support? Without both of those requirements being met, coupled with what we know of the teacher’s impact on students in the class, how could technology ever be successful?
We need to be more critical of the studies that we see on the use of technology in classrooms. We need to ask if and how the teachers were trained in that technology and all it entails. We need to examine the mindset of those educators as well. Are they supportive of tech in the classroom, or do they view it as an added burden that they were never prepared for. Not every educator is prepared to accept technology as a tool for learning. These attitudes have profound effects on results.