What we are witnessing in the education sector is the 21’st century’s version of the renaissance: ‘the education renaissance.’
That being said, we are witnessing a rush towards a new educational philosophical shift to meet the demands of the 21’st Century[i]
Most teachers- both new to the field and the ones that are experienced are apprehensive at the moment that they do not have the requisite skills and training that is necessary to educate their students properly with technology. Some even think that, education technology may somehow disrupt their teaching methods or even go as far as replacing them in the classroom. While, feeling anxious about new professional challenges are natural, the crux of the matter is to not let fear overrule mind.
They need to rather take things in good spirit for implementing edtech will help them to resolve many challenges in their day- to-day pedagogical approaches and improve students’ learning. This also brings us to our point of discussion here in this piece - how can teachers stay current with developments in pedagogy?
By incorporating edtech, teachers can try out different methods to keep students interested in the subject matter, as well as keep them motivated to learn. It’s also an opportunity for them to enhance students’ needs as well as their interests. Thus teachers have to set aside a few minutes to explore the various technology enabled pedagogical practices, the variety of learning tools and products available to make it learning easier for the students.
Ways to Stay Current with Technology in Pedagogy
1. Establishing Goals
Educational technology is often developed to suit a specific problem that makes selecting the right solution for the school’s specific strengths and weaknesses an essential part of modernizing the classroom. Teachers thus have to undertake a thorough research on different solutions to know their distinct characteristics and avoid random selection of tools that are hardly of much use to them.
Establishing goals is important for the teachers as in the present age; innovation without direction is the path to a woefully misplaced investment.
Also, with so much technology now available to educators, it makes all the sense to actually gather a few resources on how to use current technologies in the classroom. As teachers create a guideline for them, it will help lay the foundation for understanding popular platform and concepts being applied to the classroom.
To enhance understanding of how to use technology in the classroom is to subscribe to or follow some of the latest tech blogs related to classroom instruction.
2. Discuss with Peers and Experts from Across the World
With social media going conventional, communication with natives and people situated in different corners of the world from the community has become way too easy. Discuss on how other teachers apply new style of pedagogy and ways of relating to students, share with each other and this way teachers will not only learn new things but improve and grow together in the community.
The other side of the thing is that, it is true that, teachers cannot always stay up-to-date in the loop on all the latest trends. However, it’s important to be aware of the trends that are far reaching so that school staff members are all on the same page when it comes to addressing issues like cyberbullying and topics like digital literacy and digital citizenship. The more teachers share about what the students are interested in, the more does it open up avenues for the teachers to connect with the students.
3. Don’t Panic and Keep Things in High Spirits
While trying out any new technology enabled pedagogical practice or for that matter incorporating a new tool into learning, it is pertinent to step into it thinking it is to one’s advantage. This gives the much required initial push to start things new and afresh.
Trying out new technology trends can actually be fun for not just the teachers but the students too. As teachers adopt new approaches, they will find it gives new life into material and creates excitement among their learners. Further, the significant benefits of integrating technology into the classroom are that it offers a certain degree of flexibility that was unimaginable in the traditional model of education.
For instance, in the flipped classroom setup, teachers can use class time for homework and deliver lectures after school through digital media, has been causing significant waves in the world of education. It may not suit every topic, but despite some detractors the method has shown to be remarkably useful in certain environments. As one is developing their plan, its crucial to consider what new things these technologies can do.
4. Utilizing Social Media
Social media[ii] is an easy and effective way to learn about new technologies. Teachers should take optimum advantage of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where they make it easy for the teachers to track what’s trending in the world of educational technology. All that’s required for a teacher is search hashtags on both platforms like ‘edtech’ or ‘edchat ‘to read all about the latest educational innovations. One can also chat with the experienced techies and get all of their questions answered related to technical confusions.
At any rate, using social media in the classroom is certainly a tricky exercise, but can be very rewarding to both the student and the teacher. Directing activities with complete, well-planned guidelines can lead to an incredibly active, organic student community, encouraging students to learn for themselves not just for grades.
5. Proceed to Continued Education
Bracing up skills and reskilling is what every profession demands in the fast paced evolving economy and teaching being no different.
Effective teachers’ professional development course programs enable educators to develop their knowledge and improve their instruction. It is about acquiring new skills and becoming a better teacher and gaining the confidence by learning new methods and information regarding the technology enabled pedagogical approaches- benefits as well as its implementation process. In the course of completing the program, teachers can learn on online teaching and learning, the fundamentals of using digital tools to streamline assignments, organize the assessment process and how teachers can provide students with constant access to learning materials.