As a technology coach, I see time-and-time again teachers afraid to have their students use digital tools because their students might do something inappropriate. On the other end of the extreme, I see teachers who are signing their students up for every new spiffy tool the moment it becomes available. As a teacher of teachers, I believe that it is my job to model the middle ground- safe, thoughtful, innovative use of digital technologies as a learning tool. This is important because my teachers need to be able to model the same with their students.
To accomplish this, I believe that school districts should provide every teacher time to learn how to leverage technology in three ways, as learners, teachers, and sharers.
First, teachers must learn. They must understand the basics of how classroom technology works, how to interact safely online, how to efficiently find and evaluate information online, and how to assess technology tools they are told about or find on their own. Much of my thinking about this was influenced by Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller (2013).
Second, teachers should be guided and taught how to effectively teach a lesson that incorporates high depth of knowledge levels in conjunction to technology integration. As a result, teachers can teach their students at engaging and high cognitive levels. A great place to start studying technology integration models is not singularly, but in relation to Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (2012).
Last, teachers should have opportunity and be encouraged to reflect, connect, share, and problem solve with other educators via digital mediums as part of a Professional Learning Network (PLN). My first “connected educator” thinking was inspired by reading the Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (2012).
Technology integration cannot be something that a district hopes a teacher has time to learn or already knows. Time must be intentionally provided that teachers can learn, teach, and share with a technology coach.
BBC Department of Instructional Technology. (2012). Technology and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. Retrieved September 1, 2015 from http://aspire.lacoe.edu/resource_files/resource_68_1352166456.pdf
Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: Connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17, 137-45. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from the ERIC database.
Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. (2012). The connected educator: Learning and leading in the digital age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.