It’s only a generation since classes used blackboards and the IT room was only really utilised by the IT teacher. The world of tablets, laptops, smartphones and whiteboards were future ideas in the minds of the technology world and certainly weren’t seen to be a definitive tool to be used on a daily basis within schools outside the computer room.
Technology now is everywhere; tablets for all pupils, the use of sites such as Facebook for social learning and text books replaced by interactive learning software. For teachers who have limited knowledge of current technology, it can be daunting to be presented with new hardware to use or be expected to teach a class skills barely understood themselves.
Here are some tips to staying up to date with technology for personal development and to then integrate into the classroom.
If you need to enhance your own knowledge, slowly add technology-related activities to the teaching time. Focus on just a few things at a time and add just one new programme per week for the class to utilise. Between lessons, carry out developmental knowledge by reading up on classroom technology; there are incredible amounts of resources available out there to learn more as well as lesson plan ideas.
Find some technology blogs created in a style you can read and understand. Read the articles regularly and you’ll soon be up to speed with the most popular topics of the day. You can the look to teach the class on ideas from the blog articles or introduce a blogging project where the class start their own blogs in relation to the subject topic. It doesn’t have to be an IT-related class either; they could be producing blogs for history, art, drama or PE, it all dovetails together.
If you don’t have a Twitter account or a similar social media profile, sign up. Twitter is an excellent way to follow education leaders, find out their thoughts on current technologies and also share your ideas with fellow teachers. LinkedIn is another great way to talk on a professional level with peers across the world as well as joining relevant forums.
Share your work
Take photos of the class projects, share ideas on Pinterest, talk about your work on LinkedIn. It’s an excellent way to learn how to use the different kinds of media involved such as using digital cameras and then creating different effects through popular software programmes, the ways that social media platforms can inform others and to get feedback from other teachers on the work you and the class are producing. At the same time, you can look at what is happening in schools around the world and take these thoughts into your own teaching environment.
Technology doesn’t have to be frightening. It’s about realising that it’s an aid to life in so many ways and is part of the way we now function in and out of a working environment. Take initial steps before jumping into something which may feel overwhelming and before you know it you’ll comfortably be swimming in the deep end with the experience you’ve found through working on your own and with others.