It is no secret that the digital interactive classroom is now very much alive and well. From tablets to interactive whiteboards, teachers around the world are taking on the challenge of producing interactive activities that engage the learners and use technology to the full. It has not been a quiet revolution either, with much comment in the media and much frustration among teachers as they try to get to grips with new technology. It was never a question of just understanding how to use a device, but more about how to use it effectively to encourage young minds to learn.
A recent piece of research found out many different things about how students perceived their teachers when they are using this technology. The piece of research, which was entitled The (digital) pen is mightier than the keyboard’, was carried out by Julie Williams around seven years ago. The study discovered plenty of different aspects of the attitudes that children have towards technology, most of it positive. One of the biggest things they found out though, was the fact that children are very perceptive about the ability, or lack of it, that teachers have with technology in the classroom.
A study found that students felt that the faculty member’s effectiveness and ability with new hardware and software affected their own learning. Comments from this piece of research were often about the teacher’s lack of expertise or proficiency with the technology. Students understood that teachers needed time to get to know the new technology, but they also felt that this was essential if they were to make progress. In other words, there is nothing worse for a student in the modern interactive classroom than to have a teacher that does not know what he or she is doing with the technology. This causes problems, not least a lack of confidence in the teacher on the part of the student.
A long way to go
Schools still have a long way to go in this regard. If schools are able to take on the challenge of further training their teachers so that these teachers can then handle new technology with confidence, this will feed into a more positive atmosphere in the classroom. This more positive atmosphere in the classroom will then translate into a more productive learning environment, where students are able to tackle challenges academically, and also manage large amounts of data and information with confidence.
It is not the fault of the teachers. However, some teachers in schools are so dyed in the wool and traditional that they cannot face the onslaught of technology. They would rather avoid the job of trying out new things than taking on the challenge of making a difference to a child’s life. Sad, but true.
It is up to school leaders to instil confidence in teachers, so that this new technology is grasped quickly and effectively. Only then will you have a truly interactive classroom where children are confident in the skills of the teacher.