Technology, like it or not, is here to stay. Today’s students and the businesses who will recruit them, demand it. The assumption is that schools will embrace technology.
Whilst many schools and teachers are embracing technology in the classroom, there are many more that are challenged by it. Is this because decisions at the school leadership level have been based more around what device rather than how technology will benefit teaching and learning?
Many argue that the conversations should focus around the quality of teacher expertise required for integration into the learning environment. After all, technology should only really be used if it is adding value to the learning process. As Dr Heidi-Hayes Jacobs argues, only when “teachers integrate technology seamlessly into the curriculum instead of viewing it as an add-on, an afterthought, or an event” can technology truly add value.
So what can we do to help those schools and teachers who classify themselves as “struggling”?
Josh Work’s “5 Tips to Help Teachers who Struggle with Technology” recently summarised key points for all schools and leaders to act on in relation to building confidence and competency in teachers and their use of technology:
- Build a Tech Team
- Scaffold Effective Professional Development
- Make Time
- Make It Relevant
- Encourage Them
These tips are not difficult. Okay some require a financial spend but his last – encouragement – is an excellent starting point. After all, this is what teachers do so effectively when helping students to learn. The key is to respect teachers as learners and allow them to develop confidence in a supported manner. Madeline Hunter says it succinctly – schools and leaders need to give teachers the sense that “any growth requires a temporary loss of security”. And that is ok.