Technology and the 21st Century Educator
Education evolves with time. It is vital that educational practices be reviewed and revamped when the need arises. For the 21st century, education has been ushered into the age of technology. Students in today’s classroom have been brought up with technology all around them. In order to engage the technologically saturated generation, educators must use what is relatable to their students. They must become 21st century educators in order to effectively instruct 21st century learners. If educators are trained to create a authentic learning experience for their students, students will in turn take ownership and create a deeper meaning in their learning. Technology can improve classroom activities, assessment and differentiation when used in conjunction with effective Teacher training.
Technology gives teachers a way to engage students like never before. Of course it helps keep a student’s attention and makes class more interesting, but the most important advantage of using technology in the classroom is how technology can help relate a topic to the “real world”. Technology is everywhere everyday, especially for the youthful demographic. Students in today’s classroom are being raised in a technological era. Technology is their reality, and by bringing it into the classroom, we are bringing in the world around them.
In the journal article entitled “Technology and Classroom Practices”, it discusses the findings of research done on the effects of technology in the classroom. The research showed that in classrooms, which use technology effectively, the students collaborated and searched on their own how to solve problems. This higher order thinking skill is the “holy grail” of education. It is a crucial skill to help students will their future success in their educational careers. They would pick their own tasks, which show they are taking control of their own learning. Creativity and communication as well not only improves among students but teachers as well.
The Internet is everywhere, and there is more opportunity than ever to make the most out of planning lessons. That is not to say that technology should be integrated in every single lesson. If a lesson works and the desired effect is achieved without technology, it may be best to leave the technology out of it. If there is a lesson that does not have the desired effect or the students are not engaged and get nothing out of it, then technology could be the answer to make it more effective. In the article, “Integrating Technology in Teaching and Teacher Education: Implications for Policy and Curriculum Reform” it touches on how important implementing technology into the classroom is crucial since it is everywhere outside of the classroom. The article is discussing how important it is in schools all over the world to incorporate technology. Technology allows for more effective peer teaching opportunities among students. Peer teaching is more prevalent in classrooms with technology, which in turn creates a more authentic learning experience.
Not only is creating activities involving activities important, but technology use in assessment is as equally crucial. Immediate feedback is important to the development and understanding of students. The faster a student can receive feedback, the quicker corrections to learning can be made. Not only summative and formative, but across standards and benchmarks, which will create a more conducive learning environment. It helps the teacher as well see where adjustments need to be made for students. It helps them to realize what needs to be retaught before too much time has passed to make the assessment irrelevant.
Teachers realize that assessment is not only for the students, but for themselves, as well. If there is an assignment that a single student or a group of students have problems with, then the Teacher can step back a figure out if it is the student who needs reinforcement, if the lesson needs to be retaught as a group, or if the lesson needs to be scrapped altogether and the concept in question should be taught in a different manner. All of this can happen in a short span of time instead of days. Being able to reteach or correct a student while the concept is fresh in their mind is reason enough to integrate technology into the classroom. The article, “Perspectives on Integration of Technology and Assessment” asserts that the new era of assessment is learning-centered. Technology improves on the quality of tasks presented to students. It will only get better in the future.
Another important benefit to using technology in the classroom is individual instruction. When educators discuss the benefits of technology they use word such as “authentic” and “personal”. One of the hardest things to accomplish as a Teacher, especially if there is a large class size, is differentiation. It is hard to focus on one or two students needs when there could be 30 plus students to teach. With technology, using online tools such as tutorials and games help those students who need extra time and more review that a teacher may not have the time for. At least not without taking away from the other students. It works the other way as well. Gifted students sometimes get overlooked and not challenged enough so they are never able to meet their full potential. Technology by being a creative outlet for gifted students. Online activities can help gifted students to extend on a concept and help them take it further.
Technology has allowed differentiation to go even further, through a still new concept of online schools. Now a 21st century educator has the choice of where to work, a choice that Teachers have never had before. Use to Teachers worked in a classroom, and that was the only option. Now Teachers can work from anywhere and there is a flexibility that has never been there before. In the article, “Schools That Technology Built: Evaluation of a Program to Train Teachers for Virtual Schooling” online education and teacher preparation are the topic. The article comments that upside for student is that online schools can be the answer to students who struggle in a more traditional class setting. It also has a flexibility that some families may require or want. It is also a great tool for parents who home school. Their children work with certified teachers and parents feel more confident knowing that standards are getting met. For this reason demand for these types of educational institutions are on the rise. With this new avenue of schools, the realization is dawning that Universities have to take another look at how they are currently training soon to be teachers. Teacher education must evolve as well to keep up with the growing integration of education and technology.
As stated in the article by Roblyer and Davis discusses the importance of re approaching how Universities education up and coming Teachers. The argument is that technology should become a requirement for all education majors and not just an elective. This way, if the Teachers are prepared, they can then prepare their students for life in the technological era. The authors believe that Teachers should receive hands on training as well as go into the classroom for hands on training with technology. According to the article, there are many Universities that have already started implementing technology into their education curriculum as a requirement They assert that in order for teachers to understand how to use technology properly in their own classroom when they get one, they need to see how it is done out in the field. Doing this, according to the authors will ensure that graduates know how to implement technology in the classroom in the most effective way possible and to prepare them for the future role of technology in education.
Success using technology in the classroom must start with Teacher training meaning both up and coming Teachers and those who have been in the classroom for any length of time. In an article entitled, “Can Teacher Technology Integration Training Alone Lead to High Levels of Technology Integration?” it states that most of the time training deals more with administration and less about how to use it as part of the curriculum. The paper states that 58% of teachers still do not use technology in the classroom and that after “training” the number does not improve by much. This asserts that it is not the lack of training, but the type of training. Teachers need the type of training that makes technology use both relevant and authentic to them, terms that are used when describing using technology for student learning. If the type of training used can’t convince teachers who teach core subjects, how can it be used to any success in the classroom? It makes sense, that like classroom assignments, technology training for teachers need to be geared to be more individualized. One solution could be for more schools should have a full-time technology coordinator who is able to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom. If more technology is to be used by teachers in all subject areas, there must be better training geared toward making it more relevant and personalized so that teachers can see the benefits and how it can apply to their classroom. Otherwise, it will be viewed as another thing they have to do and another standard that needs covering.
In order to create 21st century students, we must have 21st century teachers. Technology helps students and teachers create an individualized and authentic learning environment. Through immediate feedback, students can correct learning sooner and more effectively. Technology also can help in differentiation in the classroom as well as through online schools. With proper and relevant training, teachers will be able to use technology effectively and appropriately in their classrooms. They will have the understanding that only when used in conjunction with standards can it reach its full potential to create a technological savvy student. Teachers must remember that the goal for technology use is to enhance what is already there, not to replace it.
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