Teachers – Stay Employed for Life by Taking on Technology
Guest article written by: Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti
Technology is transforming education. Schools everywhere are taking an interest in technology and this will create more opportunities in the education sector, particularly for teachers with a technology background. But what about teachers who don’t have these skills or background? There are many ways for teachers to keep up with trends like these.
- Watch the trends – New trends become large opportunities when they solve everyday problems. A major example of this is MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses). Many schools including Stanford, Yale, Harvard, and MIT are joining the trend of offering free courses online. This is an easy way for employees to stay current in their workforce without having to pay tuition or enroll in a degree program or for-credit courses. Done right, the MOOC experience can be similar to an actual classroom experience in regard to two distinct areas-that they are engaging and discovery based.
- Educate yourself – MOOCs are a great place to start. Youtube also offers several free tutorials online for teaching with different technology tools. Also, it’s a great idea to get connected with teacher blogs. Teachers around the world are collaborating on ideas for how to integrate tech into the classroom. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn just by doing some simple research. Check out Twitter too. Teachers will find a host of educators meeting at night and all summer long. Some education hashtags for conversations are #edchat and #edtech.
- Integrate technology into your classroom. Engagement is critical for keeping students attentive, therefore, try using a variety of methods to engage the students. The technical skills you acquire along the way make great additions to your professional portfolio.
- Introduce new tools to your students – It’s the teacher’s responsibility to surround his/her students with resources and avenues so that they can solve evolving problems on their own and be a part of the bigger solution. However, teachers shouldn’t just create this environment, they also need to facilitate the discovery process and guide students in using these tools properly in order to achieve meaningful learning. As learning experts, teachers should be inviting of other outside experts if the goal truly is to achieve student outcomes.
- Attend as many professional development opportunities as possible – (usually provided by your school district). Technology-based workshops and presentations are becoming increasingly popular in education. Keep an eye out for local opportunities and ask your school administration to send you. Schools love it when their teachers further their education via formal or professional training.
With all of the new technologies available, teachers have a lot to learn and even more to teach their students. However, these are exciting opportunities for professional growth. It’s easier to teach your students how to be life-long learners when you are one yourself.