There was a post on the inaugural #ukedchat twitter debate posted by @JamesClay which read
“Before you answer how, you need to really answer and explain the why you should be using tech in education.”
Unfortunately, I was travelling home on a rather crowded train and was unable to fully follow the online debate but this post caught my attention and made me think;
“Do we really need to explain to teachers why they should be using technology in their lessons?”
Do we really need to explain to teachers why they should be using technology in their lessons?
I go into schools often and also meet other teachers on training sessions. I often meet teachers who do not use technology or who use it only a little. It is clear, though, that each of them know that they could and should be using technology or using it more. Quite often, these teachers will express their worries that they’re not using ICT and that they sometimes feel their class are missing out compared to pupils in a different class.
In reality, the ‘why’ teachers use educational technology is well established and accepted, even among those teachers who rarely or reluctantly use it. I don’t feel it would be very productive to continue ‘banging on’ about why teachers should use technology in their lessons; this message has already been received.
What may be lacking in some teachers is the knowledge of ‘what’ technology to use or ‘how’ it can be used.
What may be lacking in some teachers is the knowledge of ‘what’ technology to use or ‘how’ it can be used. This may often be accompanied by a low level of confidence in using the technology and possibly poor experiences of trying to use it in the past. Where this is the case, we need to be able to provide training to enable the teachers to explore technology and to ‘play’ with it in order to develop their confidence and allow them to identify for themselves the ways in which they might use it in their teaching.
In terms of the ‘what’ to use, it may often be the case that teachers have had exposure to only a limited range of technology. This is sometimes the case where the technology is situated in a special room, such as a computer suite, and can only be accessed if ‘booked’ or scheduled on a timetable. This can be further compounded if the technology is seen as being the ‘property’ or domain of a particular person or department within the school.
I mentioned, in a previous paragraph, the need for training, for me, the word ‘training’ is not the best word to use. What we are talking about here is more professional skills development and peer collaboration. At least that is the way I try to approach teacher ‘training’ sessions. Training seems to imply that there is something you lack and, until you get it, you are not a full professional. This seems to be an almost negative and demoralising, maybe even patronising, approach which doesn’t really convey a positive, supportive and professional approach.
In my many years of working with teachers, I have consistently found that if you give them a piece of kit, or anything, and ask them how it could be used in a lesson, they will come up with 101 suggestions, most of which you will never even
teachers are intelligent people with lively curious minds who genuinely want to give the best for their learners.
have thought of before. Let us not forget that these are teachers; they are intelligent people with lively curious minds who genuinely want to give the best for their learners.
Okay, so we have established that we no longer need to explain to teachers why they should be using technology in their lessons, it is the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ that needs to be tackled. I have also suggested that, in my opinion, changing our approach to training would be beneficial. The question still remains, though, as to ‘How can we get more teachers to use technology effectively in their teaching?’ which was the question posed at the beginning of the #ukedchat twitter debate.
a transcript of the #ukedchat twitter debate can be downloaded here