“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” – Max De Pree
Twitter’s #edchat discussion Tuesday evening tackled the subject of teacher technology literacy and curriculum integration. This can seem like a daunting task for administrators, advisors, and technology coordinators because some teachers fear technology, others are reluctant to start, and some fail to see the need for technology in the classroom. As @jdthomas7 puts it, “Tech has become like Math-ok to say I hate tech-don’t really need it!”
While changing the hearts and minds of teachers can seem impossible, it really can be as easy as modeling, supporting, and encouraging teachers. @NewsNeus suggests that in order to make real change, we need to start with changing our current educational model, “(Make it) less academic (and) more experiential, less transmission (and) more creation, (and) less instructional (and) more ‘entrepreneur’.” There are also steps you can take at your school that will increase teacher technology integration.
5 Step Plan for Increasing Teacher Technology Integration
Lead by Example
Model meaningful use of technology for your teachers. Set up a school Facebook page to show how facebook can be used as a learning tool, share your twitter handle, and be an advocate in removing bans on useful classroom technologies. Read this article from a student on how one principal’s actions can change the culture of a school and district.
@Aaron_Eyler: Administrators must model use and emphasize a need for technology in the building.
@cusilleee: Integration isn’t easy. It takes a change in how you teach. We need good models. Empower those that are changing.
@michellek107: Districts need to empower leaders of tech integration, rather than try to limit or control them.
Change the Face of your Professional Development
Start simple, scaffold and differentiate your technology training. As @edtechsteve said, “Great tech PD has this base: 1) Give time to play, 2) Model with students, 3) Co-teach, 4) Observe/reflect, 5) Peer coaching.” Welcome dialogue and allow your teachers to share with one another. Run teacher-led, menu driven professional development sessions, or consider one of the other 5 ways to redesign your professional development to motivate teachers.
One amazing idea that came up during the discussion was to demonstrate the power of technology to transform learning and engagement by designing hybrid professional development sessions. For example, imagine how much more valuable an online forum would be as compared to an hour long meeting after a long day’ work! You could even incorporate a twitter backchannel in your PD sessions.
Most importantly, integrate the use of technology when you train teachers and they will begin to see how they can meaningfully use technology in their own classrooms.
Encourage Your Teachers to Build a Professional Learning Network
@baldy7 advises to focus first on “teacher personal (technology) use for growth” before asking them to integrate technology in their curriculum. This will demonstrate to teachers how technology and social media can be used to enhance and expedite learning. Provide models, resources, time, and support for teachers to build a professional learning network. Show your teachers how to set up Google Reader and subscribe to educational technology blogs such as the Learning Today Blog and to educational technology podcasts such as e-Learning Today TV.
After your teachers grow comfortable with using technology to enhance their own learning, they will feel more comfortable using it with their students.
Put the Curriculum and Safety First
@doctorjeff: Start with lesson goals, then show how diff tech helps meet diff goal. Tech follows pedagogical approach.
Provide time for your teachers to view other schools, classrooms, or districts that are successfully, meaningfully, and safely integrating technology. As @corriekelly advocates, train your teachers that, “Tech should enhance our teaching of curriculum; we shouldn’t use it without a purpose.” Share with your teachers the 5 Questions for Planning Successful Web-Based Activities.
As teachers begin experimenting with integrating technology, provide them with sample lessons on cyber-safety, digital citizenship, and protecting digital footprints. This will ease some of the fears your teachers have surrounding social media and technology in education.
Create a Digital Toolbox for Teachers and Students
It was suggested that technology professional development should be relevant to a teacher’s area of expertise, but I disagree. Web 2.0 tools, instructional technologies, social media, mobile devices, etc. can be used by all teachers, in a multitude of ways. It’s important to teach our students and our teachers to look at these tools as just that, a tool. They should not replace curriculum, but enhance it.
Create a digital space for teachers to share their favorite tools and lessons, and a student page such as this one for students to easily determine and utilize web 2.0, social media, and other educational technologies. We must train teachers and students to view these tools for their educational value and not simply as entertainment devices.
For more information on increasing tech integration in the classroom, check out Miss Cheska’s research.
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