Technology is constantly changing, and the children we teach, socialize and interact using technology in their everyday lives. Sometimes we, as teachers, fear this change, sometimes we are just unsure! When teaching it is very important that the ICTs we use are age appropriate and encourage children to participate in the lessons with enthusiasm and interest.
The modern, integrated classroom has many technological device options - computers, tablets, hand-held devices, and many others. The range and selection of programmes is overwhelming and the enormous choice of web-based opportunities could be daunting. As educators we need to decide which technologies suit our students' different needs, what will enhance our teaching? The solution may differ from teacher to teacher, and from school to school.
When reading Brian Jensen's blog about "5 things to know before deploying education technology", I agreed completely.
The technological infrastructure within the school must suit the type of technology to be used. Trying to do a computer lesson on computers that don't work properly, adds to the teacher's frustration and even his or her fears. Having enough tablets for a class, but the wifi strength can not cope, just leads to irritation and disappointment.
You, the teacher, has spent time preparing for the lesson, and now in the class the technical aspect or the technology itself has let you down. Not only is the teacher now trying to cope with the technical problems, but has to handle a classful of children who are getting frustrated, and may even get disruptive or angry, because the technology does not work. This is a most difficult task for the teacher, not only is she / he disappointed that the work he / she wanted to achieve could not be done, and the precious lesson time is being wasted, but the teacher is thinking about all the time used in preparing the lesson as well. This is not a happy space to be in and is most disheartening.
When as a school, you are budgeting for new technology, remember to budget for the technical infrastructure and support. This would encourage teachers to use the technology within the lessons, as the technology would work the way it was meant to, without problems. Learners would also benefit greatly and time would not be wasted.
Another aspect of the budget is to include the cost of staff training in the newly acquired technologies. The teachers should take ownership of the technology they will be using in their classrooms. The training should empower them to use the technology, giving them skills to create lessons and solve minor problems that may arise by troubleshooting. By ensuring operational and effective training to use a technology, the technology would not become a forgotten toy, rather maximum educational use be achieved and the school would also get its monies worth from the product.
Making sure the technology is working well is key to happy and productive staff members. The teachers should know who to contact to assist them if there is a problem. This may be a person on the staff, an outsider, or even a support company. By making sure these bricks are in place, staff would be encouraged to teach using technology, as it makes the learning experience beneficial for the learners, and accomplishment for the teachers who have spent the time planning and executing their own teaching goals.
Enjoy using technology classroom!
Edudemic, Brain Jensen, "5 things to know before deploying education technology"