Saturday, February 25, 2012

Technology is Good - Now What?

According to a study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released on Edudemic, teachers admit that classroom magazines and books (other than textbooks), along with digital resources such as web-based programs and technology, engage students in learning and help with student academic achievement.

Edudemic - See the study results here

While I agree with the results personally, I have not witnessed such an overwhelming feeling in my particular school. We have several teachers who are "old-school" in their teaching methodology. Some still lecture all 42 minutes while others attempt some activities but they mostly use the textbook. Perhaps some of the hesitation for implementing technology comes from fear of the unknown or limited exposure to the positive tools available. Because they do not choose the technology does not make them poor teachers; in fact, several are very good teachers. My question concerning these teachers is how can I, as an administrator, encourage and give the tools needed to attempt incorporating technology?

For a moment, let us assume these statistics represent the entire US teaching population. If so, what is the next step? Are we actively trying to implement more classroom magazines and books as well as technology into our schools? The cost of such materials can be astronomical and many school leaders or school boards do not understand the value of these purchases. If the leaders are not against technology, another obstacle can be the parents who have a limited knowledge of the benefits of such techniques.

Ultimately, the materials in the classroom are just one piece of the puzzle. The technology and other resources can certainly be a huge advantage to motivating students toward learning, but the teacher is the most vital. The teacher must facilitate learning and provide an academic environment even if he/she has absolutely no materials in the arsenal. We cannot put all our eggs in the "technology basket" without developing teachers who are skilled and passionate about education. With the properly trained and gifted teacher and the best tools including technology, our schools could improve drastically.

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