Adjusting to Advances in Technology
There are fabulous and innovative new technologies available for teachers to use in the classroom. However, the classroom environment is rarely ideal for teachers because they have to deal with district wide budgets, large classroom sizes, and limited prep hours on the clock. Newer teachers, who may have used the original versions of new technology while they were in high school or college, may have already trained themselves to use current technological advances. On the other hand, teachers who have 15+ years experience were trained in more traditional ways of teaching.
Sometimes the traditional version is the best while other times the latest and greatest is the way to go (READ: “Grades: The Holiday Season Slump“). Good teachers will adjust to what their students need and each students is different, however it is difficult to find the delicate balance between old school and new school technology. Teachers are generally left to train themselves but can make it easier by taking the following steps.
1. Keep it simple
Educational technology is offered in many forms, ranging from the incredibly straightforward and user-friendly version to the highly complicated and confusing. Because classroom hours are precious and students’ minds wander quickly, it’s best to keep technology simple at first. Teachers and students alike will become easily frustrated with technology that has several glitches or that simply doesn’t work. Students can use basic calculator apps or the simple yet highly useful applications on IDroo to start; once they adjust they can move on to more complicated tasks.
2. Work within the budget
All teachers, whether they work at a public or private school, are required to stay within a budget. Depending on the district, some schools will have adequate means while others will struggle to meet the basic department needs. Teachers should not feel pressured to try and work outside their budget or spend money. Much of the newer educational technology is free or very low cost and, as a result, can serve teachers working with any budget.
3. Limit new technology to benefit the typical student
While adjusting to ever updating technology, it’s a good idea to stick with the materials that students can use the most. Some new technology is exciting and intricate but may only meet the needs of some students. Sticking to advances that can serve the universal student population can keep the classroom environment simple and orderly. Of course, students who fall out of the “average” range should not be forgotten but finding out what serves each student as an individual takes time (READ: “What Kind of Technology Should I Use to Help Me Study?”).
4. Let the consumer serve as beta testers
College students and young professionals are reported to be interested in technology more than any other group. Let the consumer try out new technologies as they are released. For the most part, any particular technology is made better in the second or third generation of the product or service. Although it is tempting to rush out and get the latest and greatest, the teacher’s time and budget is valuable and educators may be better served by waiting for the second version of any particular program or product.
5. Adjust slowly
Attempting to learn five new products over one summer can be overwhelming. It’s a good idea for teachers to adjust to new technology slowly. This way, teachers can integrate the technology in a way that will not overwhelm themselves or their students. Many students in high school will not have been exposed to our current technologies when they were in the lower grades (READ: “Superfoods and Testing”). On the other hand, elementary students are probably more used to reading an e-book then an actual book. Regardless of the student age group, it’s important that the student and teacher have time to adjust to new technologies so that they don’t become an undue stress factor.
The technological tools that are currently available are exciting and make life easier. Regardless of their benefits, a mild adjustment is required for a collaborative classroom environment to accept them openly.
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