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Training Educators To Become Powerful Users of Classroom Tech

Kesar Patel

Kesar Patel

Principal, Tagore Global School, Kurukshetra

“Professional development to support the teachers is our greatest need. It is important to scaffold teachers as much as it is of students.” -Michael Soguero

In the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, which collates 15-year-olds’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading around the world, the Finish school system is among the world’s best and is on a par with China, Singapore, and South Korea.

But, what makes the education system of a small country like Finland so strikingly different? Their teachers? Wrong. It is the amount of training that their teachers take to stay relevant to their profession. Every week, they dedicate two hours towards their professional development.

Training is an integral part of teaching. It keeps teachers abreast of the changes taking place in education and helps them modify their pedagogy to meet student needs. If a teacher wants to grow professionally, then he or she has to keep learning. If learning stops, stagnation sets in, which is highly undesirable. We have to keep in mind that students are attracted to technology like ants to honey.

The need for training teachers in technology also arises because the students are highly tech-savvy. Today, students learn differently. An ill-equipped teacher does more harm in the classroom than good.

There is a need for practical examples to be shared in classrooms. Virtual interviews and interactions have become an excellent solution for diluting the bars of time and distance. A virtual field trip offers a perfect solution. Showing a volcano crater is far better than describing the crater in words or showing it in still pictures.

For all these wonderful things to come alive in the classroom, a teacher needs to be tech-savvy. Training teachers is one aspect. Pushing them to use technology to enter a comfort zone is another aspect. Merely training the teachers is not the solution; giving them time to accommodate in the classroom is also very important.

Teacher and Technology: A four-step plan

Decide the tools

It will add value to the training if the tools of technology are pre-decided. There are many ways in which technology can be added to the teaching and learning process. It is better to decide upon which tools the school leadership wants to implement into the classrooms. Having a clear vision will help you focus on which goals to achieve. After all, the teacher community cannot be barraged with too many things at one time. It will not bring out the efficiency among the staff, and the purpose will be defeated.

Training

The next important step is training. Time and again, training will have to be imparted to the teachers. According to a survey, only 10 per cent of K-12 - teachers are aware of the changes taking place in education. They are confident that they can use technology in the classroom. They feel the need to learn more and want to take up new methods to the classroom, but the resources to support them are meagre.

Sustained implementation

There is an eagerness to learn, but there are complications in putting the technology to use. A teacher needs much practice to be able to use it smoothly into the classroom. Giving a tool to the teacher is easy. Teaching them to use it is also not difficult. However, they need a comfort level to implement it into the classroom. Gelling the lesson plan and fitting it in with the right piece of technology requires time and consistent efforts.

School leaders need to employ patience and persistent encouragement to ensure that teachers blend their teaching with technology gradually over a period.

Independence to execute

Lastly comes the independence level granted to a teacher. If the educator is confident and feels secure with technology, they will use it effectively and continuously. They might also go for a higher-level application. No force is required. An educator should be free to choose the tools that he/she desires. This assures teaching from the heart. You find active student-teacher engagement in a classroom where the educator is motivated and well-equipped to deal with students at hand.

Once trained, let the educator lead the way.

Kesar Patel

Principal, Tagore Global School, Kurukshetra