18 Jul How can Teachers Remain 21st Century Ready Without Falling Behind the Ever-Changing World of Technology?

Before there was Smartboards, we used overhead transparencies, then laptops and projectors. We relied on students raising their hands, now there are clickers and smart phones to capture real time responses to gather classroom data.

There is no doubt that technology in education makes things faster, easier, and more accessible, but with so many changes happening at a rapid rate, what is new today will become outdated within a few months. A few years ago, I was invited to Google Headquarters in New York City for a workshop on how to create a Google Classroom that will prepare students for the 21st century. The system was easy to engage and readily accessible for educators who have little to no experience with showing how easy it could be to compose and share documents through Google Docs, create a classrooms through a Google website, and provide opportunities to conduct research and authenticate information. It became evident that Google was more than a search engine, but had an education platform with hundreds of products that could make teaching and learning fun, engaging, and cutting edge. It offers everything you need for a student to develop skills needed for college and career readiness using a computer, tablet, or even a smart phone.

While I was fascinated by what I learned at Google, it was clear that as a educational leader, in order to best develop teachers professionally, in our tech driven society one must be committed to the following:

  1. Assessing faculty members to determine who is able and willing to learn about the use of technology. It’s important that as educators there is an open-mind to be adaptable to change and develop the patience needed to learn new things that will help improve their classrooms.
  2. Evaluate what technology will make sense for the instructional practices in your school. I can’t tell you how many vendors come to the school to pitch their new programs, which sound great, but rarely get used because they don’t align to the school’s curriculum or don’t become more of hassle to use.
  3. Identify a point person or create a tech team committed to attending training and will facilitate professional development for staff members to keep them informed of new products, trends, and changes.
  4. It is important to know the type of technology that is needed in the workplace to prepare kids today in our classrooms. Therefore, cultivating partnerships with organizations and individuals who can extend learning opportunities on or offsite is essential to creating a 21st century environment.

By establishing these fundamental practices, we can then focus on providing professional development that integrates the use of technology in a more profound and meaningful way that teachers can continue to learn and evolve with over time.

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