Importance of Technology Training

Nowadays schools want to hire new teachers with creative ideas about how technology can be leveraged to create authentic and differentiated learning experiences. They are expected to be able to make effective use of new technologies in standards-based, curriculum rich lessons in hope that one day while walking down the hallways of any school we would see teachers and students using tools in appropriate, powerful ways. Only half of current working teachers believe they can use technology to motivate students to learn and that technology can help students deeply explore their own ideas. When it comes to teachers learning and valuing the effective use of new technologies, some schools are discovering that the kinds of training programs offered in the past may not represent the most generative method of reaching a full range of teachers and their students. If teachers are still trying to deliver content to their students the way teachers have historically, then they will easily burn out and feel overwhelmed.

Majority of teachers say the Internet has a 'major impact' on their ability to access content, resources and materials for their teaching. There is no question that the Internet and other digital technologies have required teachers to learn more and stay up to date. Today's educator can no longer expect to know more than his or her students. Rather than trying to stay ahead of their students with the content they teach, they should be staying ahead of their students in guiding them through the process of navigating and accessing content. Some schools are now identifying approaches to encourage teachers to employ technologies on a frequent basis to enhance student learning. The real challenge of professional development is to inspire and prepare classroom teachers to launch curriculum activities with the tools that will help students master the key concepts and skills embedded in the science, social studies, art and other curriculum standards. The focus should be on teaching and learning strategies that make a difference. As a result of these practices and the use of these new tools, students should be able to read and write more powerfully, communicate productively with members of a global community, make sense of a confusing world, perform well on the new and more demanding tests requiring inferential reasoning. Without a focus on sound educational principles, learning with these new technologies can induce a kind of cut-and-paste thinking that might actually undermine the ability of students to think.

The most effective learning strategies require a change in the ways teachers spend their time and the ways they work together. Some teachers feel reluctant to use new technologies due to lack of skill and confidence. They must be convinced of the value of the new activities and then given ample time to work on teams to invent effective lessons. Schools hope new hires to know how to use social media to connect and communicate with students and parents, as well as have the ability to integrate mobile devices, social media, and other digital instruction into their daily teaching. Technology can help teachers to be more organized, create more interactive lessons, make learning student-centred and would encourage students to be more self-directed. When teams of teachers gather to build standards-based units that they can actually use with their students, some remarkable technology learning takes place. Even though the focus of these activities might be student learning and curriculum, participants are “learning by doing”. Those with limited technology skills often emerge with far more comfort, skill and competence. More importantly, they develop the inclination to use these new tools so often lacking. If schools invest in robust professional development with an emphasis upon technology learning we can expect all teachers to learn, to grow and to move forward.