Implementation of EdTech in schools, colleges and other educational institutions cannot be completely successful unless the teachers, who are the eventual users of technology for improving their teaching practices, are adept with using it. Not only the use
of technological tools in education is required by the teachers to impart their lessons more productively, but it is equally required by their students to get most out of the teaching. The use of technology in education won’t be successful until the teachers know how to use it efficiently and can also make their students use it with ease. All of this requires training for the teachers to make them understand the significance of technology, make them familiar with the technological tools and use them effectively to be more successful in their profession.
A lot of money that is invested in EdTech implementation is wasted because teachers are not aware of the usage of technology and are not trained to use technology in education effectively and in this way, trained teachers become the missing link in EdTech. It is apparent that teacher training in the use and application of technology is the key determining factor for improved student performance. Educational technology cannot be transformative on its own. It needs the support of teachers who can integrate it into the curriculum and use it to improve student learning. Technology cannot replace teachers, instead teachers are the key to whether technology is used correctly and effectively.
One issue which is faced by educational institutions around the world, in providing training to its teachers is proper funding. It is not easy to design teacher training programs on application of technology and it is quite expensive too. Improper funding often results in inadequate and ineffective training programs. Institutions should understand that teacher training programs are a necessary and vital investment and they need to take out sufficient funds for it, which should not be compromised. Also, training teachers for using technology is not sufficient; it should be supplemented by professional development in pedagogical applications of these skills to improve teaching and learning.
The training programs that teachers are provided with should be such that the development of teachers in the use of technology should model the forms of pedagogy that they themselves can use in the classrooms. These training programs should:
Help teachers develop their knowledge and skills actively and experientially in different kinds of learning environments which can be individual or collaborative.
Include an amalgam of learning strategies such as, direct instruction, deduction, discussion and sharing.
Should facilitate the development of higher order thinking skills.
Provide an authentic learning environment so teachers can work with realistic scenarios.
Have an impact to influence and enhance their professional lives.
Encourage teachers to be more of mentors and guides to their students and not just mere presenters of information.
Help teachers define their learning objectives, plans, evaluate their learning strategies and self-assess their progress.
Promote collaborative learning.
Help in the development of diverse teachers with different learning styles, opportunities and environments.
Enable teachers to learn independent of time and pace.
A key for successful teacher training programs is modularity of structure, which can correspond to different levels of teacher expertise and experience using technology. These programs should be highly social and cooperative, where teachers can share their experiences and discuss, reflect, apply and evaluate themselves. The programs should focus on what should be learned, what skills and attitudes are needed to be developed, what knowledge should be constructed in order to effectively use technology to enhance teaching and learning. The competency levels of teachers also need to be determined for the programs to have an effective structure. If the programs are publicly recognized or provide certifications and opportunities to become a trainer, then teachers are more encouraged to participate in them.
In society, the expectations of what teachers should know and be able to do are increasing enormously. They should not only know their subject matter and pedagogy but they also need to model higher-order thinking processes, work in teams and inculcate leadership, communication and social skills. Technology can help teachers meet these expectations by providing productivity tools, access to information and global opportunities. As teachers experience such pressures and the demand for them to grow and expand their practices using technology, their want for training in the use of technology will grow automatically. As the need and demand for teacher training and development increases, the key challenges will be ensuring content quality, reliable and adequate training delivery, all at an accepted cost.
The requirement for teachers to be trained is a must in this advanced era of technology enabled education. EdTech will only realize its true potential when it will have efficient and reliable users. Trained teachers are the missing link in the successful development of EdTech and this link needs to be mended, with efforts of educational institutions supported by their countries’ governments as much as they can, for massive training of teachers to develop using technology professionally. Share what you feel about the same. The Comment Box awaits you.