Unlike the olden days, where use of PowerPoint presentation in the classroom was considered an additional teaching aid in the classroom, today use of educational technology and digital tools are no more a supplementary but a mandatory tool.
Reasons for such is because modern day learning process aims to create future ready students who mold up themselves as a technology oriented professionals in future.
It no longer emphasizes on the traditional form of education system which targeted to build workforce for any nation. Hence, educators today have to shoulder the responsibility of building future ready students who understands their true potential and manifest it with the help of technology for the benefit of self and humanity at large.
Now having said so, the challenge in integrating educational technology full-fledged in the pedagogy is that teachers are not well acquainted with technology and require some kind of tech oriented professional development. The educators are undergoing a complete shift in their teaching style, technique as well as planning process.
Such switch from teacher centered classroom or instruction based classroom to student centered classroom demands teachers to get accustomed to the change and effectively integrate educational technology in the curriculum. So, before beginning the professional development of teachers’ in schools right-away, it is important to take a consideration of the dos and don’ts of professional development to conduct it not for the sake of conducting but make it a success at the end of the day. Let’s take a look at some of these important considerations.
Dos of Technology Oriented Professional Development
- Provide teachers with a solid foundation of knowledge in relation to use of educational technology aligned to the teachers curricular needs and grade levels. The educators do retain mastery over their subject and what they demand from professional development sessions is that they need to retain some proficiency in using various educational technology resource for pedagogical reform.
- For teachers new to technology must be exposed to full series of professional development modules, attend workshops and programs that help them polish their new teaching skills in the use of technology in the classroom attuned to their curriculum.
- Assign teachers to make use of educational technology to create projects based on their subject. This will allow them to explore the tools and come up with an understanding in the areas where they lag and remove their fears by mastering those areas in the process of their ongoing PD training.
- Teaming up the teachers with differential ability to grab technology skills in order to share their ideas and successes together. It also helps the teachers to support each other in the team while they are learning technology in the same process.
- Undergoing constant evaluation process to check if the teachers can cope up the technological expectations in the new pedagogy and effectively addressing their daily challenges and responsibilities in their ongoing pedagogical process.
Don’ts of Technology Oriented Professional Development
After considering the dos of professional development, let’s now check out some don’ts in the process to help the training session turn worthwhile for the teachers.
- The first thing to consider while there is an ongoing professional training session is letting the teachers be at their self and not comparing the skills of any two teachers. Trainers supervising the teachers must not treat them as professionals but as students who are mastering new skills to cope up with new teaching procedure.
- Do not simply introduce any tool to the teachers and expect them to master it on their own. As said already they are students in the training sessions and not teachers. So, trainers need to provide complete guidance on the tool and monitor if the teachers are adapting to the technology correctly.
- Do not expect teachers to master everything on integrating technology just on the second day of the training session. ‘Practice makes a man perfect’ and true holds the adage here too. Rigorous practice session and discussion after every training session is mandatory to allow teachers to be open to the technology.
- Don’t expect the teachers attending the training session to perform at the same level. These teachers too are human being, having differential skills and so they too have their own pace of learning things. Hence, just let them slip out of steps, struggle with the technology and learn it gradually succumbing their individual shortcomings.
So before we end with the topic, let’s check out a video where an educator explains how investing time on professional development for technology had helped her immensely in career development. Watch it out to get a glimpse of the first-hand experience of the teacher. Also, please share your views on the topic to understand your personal views about professional development and its dos and don’ts.