The way your classroom has been gently invaded in the last 5 years by iPads, whiteboard screens and digital cameras is evidence that a revolution is in the making…
Many of the technologies are falling into place, but revolutions are never gentle, nor are they single-geared. The trick now for ALL teachers, especially those who already feel they’re behind in the digital stampede, to look at this objectively, rather than with fright, and make a plan.
The first rule of action should be not to fight the tide, and question those moves in your school to limit or block the use of technology en masse. It’s here already, and with smartphones, its formed the behaviour and world views of the digital natives we’re teaching and may be ourselves. For many education professionals though, the digital world is baffling and foreign. Even for the least technically enthusiastic, the good news is: there is less to have to learn to start than ever, the one-machine-per-student scenario has arrived, and you are about to discover a knowledge-rich, secure and private, easy-to-use set of tools to supplement the way you already work and make it a lot easier. Embracing the change has limitless benefits to how thoroughly you can help you students now learn.
The next step in recognising how digital advances are going to help your teaching and students is to take a look at your own school’s situation. Some pointers to objectively investigate your preparedness and digital adaptability are as follows:
- What support is available to teachers for new tech? This can include websites, search and product support – once you know help is just a touch away, you won’t get stuck.
- How well are teachers being trained to use new technology? What are the best ways to learn to use new platforms or packages – online tutorials and learning with your students is the most successful mix
- How student-centred is our approach? As students will quite probably be more comfortable with the technology than a school’s faculty, the best approach is to introduce new tools which everyone, especially students, has access to.
What the technology revolution is ultimately offering are new opportunities for invention — doing new things in new ways. Change is the order of the day in our students’ 21st-century lives. It ought to be the order of the day in their schools as well, and the freedom to experiment with new tools and platforms locally and to report back on what’s working will be essential to our schools making the most of what’s in store for them and their students.
Some doubters will worry that, with all this experimentation, our children’s education will be hurt. “When will we have time for the curriculum” they might ask, “and for all the standardized testing being mandated?” If we can offer our students the tools which allow them each to explore learning materials at their own pace, and encourage them through flipped classroom self-directed learning approaches to take curriculums into their own hands (and pockets), the benefits will be huge. Students will be empowered to rip through standard curriculums in half the time it now takes and with higher test scores for all. Its time to embrace the digital change that has the potential to help your students endlessly.