Digital solutions are changing the way we live, work, and learn. In the education sector, many teachers want to incorporate more technology into the classrooms, but lack the resources and training needed to succeed.
Teaching in the Digital World: Understanding the Status Quo
According to a survey of 4,300 teachers from TES Global and Jefferson Education Accelerator, almost half (45 percent) of those surveyed feel existing training programs don’t provide adequate preparation for using technology in the classroom.
Today, 38 percent of teachers learn about new technology-based solutions through their own research, and 37 percent rely on other tech-savvy teachers to stay up to date. Teachers don’t receive payment for this type of outside research, which provides more return for them than most workshops and formal training environments.
Many educators also want to play a more active role in choosing which technology they use. It’s crystal clear from the study results, however, that overall most teachers feel let down by the system, and under-supported when it comes to the support they need when it comes to the digital classroom.
Enable Teachers and Students to Succeed
One company, BetterLesson, is focused on bridging the divide between educational resources and technological solutions and the classroom. They provide personalized coaching to educators who want to take advantage of technology in the classroom and use ongoing analytics to measure the efficacy of the program. Several nonprofits and companies founded by teachers are following suit. They provide hands-on learning and practical use cases teachers can take directly from the training session into the classroom.
While these programs help, the education system itself needs to focus on blended learning training to bring teachers and students up to speed with the rest of the working world. Students will use many of the same educational devices and technological concepts when they enter the workforce as adults. Understanding how to use technology is only part of the equation. Blended learning classrooms allow students to engage with curriculum in a variety of ways, which improves engagement, retention rates, and the overall learning experience.
Invite Change One Step at a Time
Until blended learning environments become the norm, teachers, parents, and the general public must continue to push for classroom technology adoption. If you want to supplement your lesson plans with more technology, ask yourself this important question—What do I want to improve in the classroom?
You may want to add some excitement to a boring subject, create an outlet for visual learners, or give your students an opportunity to innovate. Define your goals to pinpoint the type of technology that makes the most sense. Virtual reality devices such as Google Cardboard, interactive tablet applications for practicing math, videoconferencing with special guests, and taking classes on “virtual field trips,” are all ways technology can facilitate learning.
Whether you work in the public school system or at a private institution, teacher technology training can greatly enhance your role as an educator. Until the education system as a whole embraces technology as an integral teaching tool, you can take steps to improve your own classroom. Look for third party teacher training programs and join with other teachers in your district who are interested in learning about technology. Together, teachers can turn educational technology and blended learning environments into a system-wide standard.
This article was original published on the HB Communications blog.