I like this post from Marc Rosenberg on Learning Solutions Magazine’s website. It covers a topic that I think about often when delivering training in schools. Specifically, does technology help with effective instruction in schools? I like to think that it does, but only if it is used appropriately. This seems to be what the article suggests and Marc offers 8 suggestions that you (the parent, the business person, the techie teacher, etc…) can do to help.
A colleague and I have been saying for some time now that cool technology + poor instruction = poor academic outcomes (and lots of wasted money). How do we overcome this? First, we need to make sure teachers are trained and armed with tons of research based teaching strategies. Only then can we expect them to use the strategies with technology.
Once we are sure educators are comfortable with the strategies, we start to slowly introduce new technology. When I say introduce, I do not mean hook a smartboard up in the classroom and leave. I mean start with one piece of technology (like a smartboard), train the teacher how to use the technology, then how to integrate it with the instructional strategies. Be sure to give adequate time to practice and follow up with them on a weekly basis to ensure it is working out. Once this piece of technology is mastered, consider introducing something new.
This isn’t rocket science, but I can’t count the number of “smart” classrooms I’ve come across over the last couple of years. These classrooms have the latest technology, but few know how to use any of it and even fewer understand how to integrate it with sound instructional strategies. And this is not a knock on teachers. If they are not trained appropriately, how can we expect them to use it effectively?