In today’s Morning Links, there was a wonderful article from The Digital Shift, which reported on a recent conference at which educators and school administrators explored technology. The comments from participants highlighted many of the issues I myself have written about on this blog before: the lack of forethought and planning in rolling out technology programs, the lack of teacher training and the need to prepare future educators before they hit the classroom. From the article:
“It’s imperative that we rethink professional development,” says Linda Clark, superintendent for the Meridian Joint School District No. 2 in Idaho. “Many of us were guilty of drive by-training, and we know it doesn’t work.”
I know we’ve been guilty of this at my own school. We’re now about three years into the iPads, and we are only now starting to move beyond using them as free choice activities and behaviour incentives where students can earn time to play on them. I’ve tried to guide my fellow teachers through instruction on how to use them for guided reading, as a math or language station, as a listening centre and so on, and it’s been slow to get this training to stick. The principal has even floated the idea of hiring a second French teacher to reduce my course load so that I can teach all the technology myself!
I like that this article highlighted the need to engage in this subject at the teacher training level, so that these issues can be mitigated down the road. I believe technology should be integrated into the lessons teachers already do, not be taught as a separate, standalone subject. And I think every teacher deserves to feel competent to use technology as more than just a reward or a busywork activity.