Teachers (especially more experienced ones) may sometimes be hesitant to integrate technology into their teaching. With all the demands on our time, it can be difficult to convince teachers to take the time to learn a new program or visit a new site. Time seems to be one of the most valuable things in teaching. Managing it throughout the school day is a real art. It is an essential skill.
It’s important that the school culture creates an environment where teachers feel they can try, fail and experiment with technology without the risk of being scrutinized. It’s also important to identify the factors that make a teacher reluctant to try tech in their classrooms. Is it because of fear? Time pressures? Lack of knowledge of where to begin? General resistance to change? Identifying the obstacles shapes the approach.
Teachers need to understand the “why” of integrating specific technology, not just the “how”. If we can’t see the point, it won’t get used.
We also need to realize that we don’t have to do it all at once. We can take our time and go at our own pace. Start small and build from there. When learning about technology, much like our students, teachers need on-going support, scaffolding and to be met where we’re at. Providing one-to-one assistance and lunch workshops is a great way to achieve this. Professional development is only effective when it is consistent and practical. Through these workshops and coaching sessions, teachers (again much like students) will gain confidence as our skills develop and improve.
Mark Anderson, who has many great resources at ICT Evangelist, suggests that teachers’ confidence when using technology can be divided into four stages:
1) Survival – teachers are not sure what to do and lack the know-how to incorporate the technology. 2) Mastery – teachers have received training, practiced with the programs/applications and they’ve trialled it in lessons. 3) Impact – both students and teachers are using the technology effectively. It is embedded in lessons and planning, whenever appropriate. 4) Innovation – the use of technology is pervasive. Teachers are digitally literate in the same manner they are with pedagogy and subject knowledge. They feel comfortable sharing and leading others with the integration of technology.
Urban Teacher recently posted a tech challenge on Twitter. It’s essentially a checklist of various skills, to-dos and creative ideas to encourage teachers to learn more about technology. I’m planning on sharing this challenge with teachers at my school to help them become more comfortable with using technology in their classrooms.