We’re about to tackle a well-worn debate here. Why should we choose not to fear technology in the classroom? What are some solid compelling justifications for adopting classroom technology? Let’s explore this for a bit.
First of all, is there even still a fear? According to the education world, teachers can be resistant to embracing edtech for the following reasons:
- Class management
- Safety fears
- Support and help
- Adequate training
Whether or not teachers want to integrate Internet technology in the classroom, to not do so would be to ignore a profound mode of communication and learning for today’s digital native. At no other point in history does technology have more of a place in the modern classroom than today. There are some great tools out there, like Google Docs, Khan Academy, Evernote, and countless others. Even Twitter has found a place among teacher favourites.
What are some of the fears preventing teachers from incorporating Web 2.0 tools within their classroom? How can they overcome them?
Time is already precious. Justifiably so, this is the number one reason preventing many teachers from adopting classroom technology.
To many, technology seems confusing and many teachers simply shy away, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Remember that the primary role of technology is to supplement learning. Don’t give up the tried-and-true strategies.
Assess what it is you already do and think of technology as just one more tool that you can use to enhance the experience.
In other words, edtech should work seamlessly within any learning environment. If a certain tech tool will drive the point more solidly than any other medium, then you would in fact be saving time in the long run.
When it comes down to class management, the addition of computers can add more stress if handled incorrectly. A well-planned strategy and layout can help alleviate awkward transitions. This is depending on how you will use tech, i.e. static computer workstations or students having access to tablets.
Whether you are moving students toward the computer stations or are passing out tablets to everyone, certainly you’ll have to establish a workable routine (starting computers up, logging in, solving network issues, etc.). The key again is seamless integration.
If you’re adopting classroom technology, make sure that the activity serves your learning objectives. In-depth training sessions in the beginning to establish routines will allow the process to run itself.
Stories about the abuse of Internet technologies abound. This can certainly be a sticking point for teachers as well as parents. Rest assured security has come a long way, and IT specialists can help put up blocks of certain websites and prevent student data from falling into the wrong hands. It’s a good policy to never post names, personal information, and pictures together.
Support and Help
There’s strength in numbers. If you’re new to adopting classroom technology, it may be daunting to have the responsibility of knowing more than the students. But if you subscribe to teacher as empowerer rather than “in power,” you can become a facilitator as students take ownership of their learning.
In many cases, you’ll recognize which of your students can be an aid in teaching others. This might be a great way to get that seemingly uninterested kid to have an important role. On the staff end, having the right IT team is key as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help—that’s what they are there for.
As with any new tool, you want to become proficient enough so that it becomes second nature to use it. Just as a master carpenter would use a hammer without a second’s thought, so too will you be able to draw from your own tech tool belt with ease. Pick one tech tool and introduce it steadily and consistently.
Learning the Ropes
Honestly, there really is no reason to exclude technology from your learning environment. As with all tools, users need to be trained in safety and proficiency. That’s where Global Digital Citizenship comes in.
For younger students, you could certainly limit tech in the beginning. They are working their way in the world and need physical play and hands-on activities ore than anything. As students get older, tech can play a significant role in fostering collaboration, critical thinking, and organization.