District Administration May 2018 - 60

ProfessionalOpinion
Getting teachers comfortable
with technology
Surefire ways to increase knowledge and understanding of tech in schools
By Sam Frenzel

A

study from Harris Interactive revealed that 89 percent of teachers think edtech improves student outcomes, but only 14 percent of
teachers use digital curricula weekly. A
major reason for this is teacher unfamiliarity and discomfort with technology.
As a result, many teachers are forced
into using technology they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable using. Administrators should do all they can to help
teachers overcome this.
Here are four keys to supporting and
engaging teachers.
1. Demonstrate technology's benefits
Remove reluctance by showing teachers
just how positively student performance
is affected by proper integration of tech
into lesson plans. Public schools are
demonstrating their commitment to integration of technology with $3 billion
being spent annually on digital content.
This is undoubtedly due to the many
studies that have revealed the positive
effects of tech on education.
One report from the Milken Exchange revealed that, on average, students who engaged in computer-based
instruction scored at the 64th percentile
on standardized tests, compared to students without computer-aided instruction, who scored in the 50th percentile.
The study also found that students learn
more in less time and develop more
positive attitudes about learning when
engaged in computer-based instruction.

DAmag.me/comfortable
60 May 2018

Keep in mind that
technology, just like
lesson plans, should
be flexible and molded
to fit student needs.
This lays the groundwork for a more
fruitful relationship with education.
2. Offer continual PD opportunities
While many schools provide professional development for their teachers,
and even workshops on technology,
these sessions are not always offered
with enough consistency.
"I think the greatest obstacle teachers
face is training and support," says Mike
Karlin, an award-winning educator and
Ph.D. candidate in instructional system
technology. PD is often presented as
a short, one-time lecture or workshop.
Teachers are then asked to integrate new
technology tools on their own, and it's
not likely to go well. "We know from
the research that PD workshops presented that way have little to no impact
on teacher practices," Karlin says.
Administrators must provide personalized, continuous and contextualized
professional development. "Share examples of how other teachers are using
the technology, give teachers time to
play with the technology, group teachers
by ability levels, and have just-in-time
support in the classroom," Karlin says.
When teachers are supported in trying new things-enough that they can
"play"-you'll know that you've moved
past discomfort and toward mastery.

3. Tech gurus
Many schools currently dedicate a
professional staff member to the technological well-being of the school or
school system. Common job titles
include education technology specialist,
instructional technologist and media
specialist. These faculty members focus
on researching and implementing
schoolwide tech that improves student
performance. They also hold training
sessions on how to use tech in the classroom, among other edtech-related tasks.
4. Research and select technology that
offer an easy learning curve
With the growth of the edtech industries, there are a variety of tools and
programs to help integrate tech into the
classroom. Technology should be flexible and molded to fit student needs.
For example, iOS and Android tablets are great for engaging students in
interactive lessons, providing access to
fun and informative games and apps,
and even flipping a classroom. Google's
education tools offer a variety of K12
tech solutions for collaboration, organization and student engagement.
Administrators must also offer
specialized programs and unwavering
support to teachers as they bring technology into their classrooms. By setting
up functions and programs designed
specifically to help teachers understand
edtech, administrators are showing their
faculty that they are not alone. DA
Sam Frenzel is a writer for Teach.com
based in upstate New York. He covers topics
including education policy, teacher welfare
and classroom technology.
District Administration


http://www.Teach.com http://www.DAmag.me/comfortable

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