We have entered an era in which technology is no longer an intimidating novelty. Its use in business and industry is both accepted and expected. And pressure abounds - from the federal government, local school boards, and the popular press - for educators to get on board and see to it that students become technologically skilled.
Technology is a tool that can change the nature of learning. But is mere technological skill enough?
First and foremost, educators want students to learn. If it's clear that technological tools will help them achieve that goal, educators will be willing to use those tools. Of course, teachers cannot revolutionize the educational system by themselves, so they must take responsibility for helping design the staff development process so that it really meets their needs. But, before technology can be used effectively, exploration must be valued as important to both teaching and learning.
In a technology-rich classroom, students might search the Web for information, analyze river water, chart the results, and record what they've learned on the computer. In such an environment, acquiring content changes from a static process to one of defining goals the learners wish to pursue. Students are active, rather than passive - producing knowledge and presenting that knowledge in a variety of formats. So, educators can encourage a diversity of outcomes rather than insisting on one right answer.
Of course, active learning is rarely a clean, neat process. Students engaged in such a process can create busy, noisy, and messy classrooms. It's important to recognize that this kind of learning takes practice - for both the teacher and the students. In a technology-rich classroom, students don't "learn" technology. Technology merely provides the tools to be used for authentic learning.
In order to successfully infuse technology into their classrooms, teachers must have the support of all stakeholders in the educational community. They must resist the notion that learning to use the "gadgets" is an end in itself. We have to insist that administrators provide teachers with time to work together, to explore, and to play with technological tools. We have to make sure that support for lifelong learning for educators, as well as for students, is built into our schools.
Teachers are creative, intelligent people, and once they learn to use technology in their professional lives they will soon discover the many ways in which technology can enhance what they are doing with their students.
Finally, teachers must be supported to educate themselves on how to best use those tools to enhance teaching and learning.
It is an exciting time to be teaching and learning, and we must seize this moment to challenge teachers, students, administrators, and policymakers throughout the whole world to help all teachers make the best use of the technology tools available to them.
Nobiletec is a multi-national consultancy firm specializes in B2B, B2C and P2P FinTech solutions.