Being a teacher is sometimes a demanding situation. There are enough variables to worry about on a daily basis in the profession, what with teacher standards, classroom behaviour and professional development to manage. On top of all of this, there is also the continuing growth of technology in the classroom. From electronic whiteboards to tablets, e-pens to virtual reality, there are plenty of ways in which teachers are being challenged to push the envelope in their own practice. This article will look at some key tips that will help teachers change their methods and their approach so that technology fits seamlessly into how they run their career, with the smallest amount of stress possible.
1. Your first step is to ensure that you have researched the best product for the year group you are teaching. It is always sad to see learners working with products and technology that is either too advanced for them or too basic for them to derive any enjoyment from, much less learning. Younger students work better, for example, with touchscreen technology and more fun-related products, while older students thrive on Web-based technology and note-taking support, such as e-pens. Research your age group well and you should have a better experience as a learning group.
2. Too many teachers (through no fault of their own but rather through an experiential and training issue) use technology as a distraction rather than an interactive learning tool. This means that they may show a video or piece of software and expect learners only to watch it and do little else. The true value in technology in the classroom comes with interactivity, where a student is encouraged to take part in the experience, through making notes, capturing data and so on, using technology as a clear bridge towards the educational objective. This is manageable as long as the teacher is confident enough to take on the challenge.
3. If the school has invested a large proportion of it’s budget in technology, it is often too easy to feel that it should be used all of the time just to gain value. This is most certainly not the case. There are schools even today that use an iPad in practically every lesson because they cost so much as part of the budget. However, relying exclusively on an iPad for the learning and progress of students is not going to work. Instead, get feedback from the students on how they think they are learning with that technology, and use that feedback to develop lessons where different approaches through different technology are used. Unless teachers mix it up, no progress will be made in the long term.
Technology can help teachers bring the best out of their students. But it should be used with confidence and with a view towards gaining best value out of it. Using technology in the ways outlined in this article, and with an overall professional approach, should allow the maximum number of learners to get the best out of it.