Without question, all educators encompass a wide range of comfort when using and implementing technology into their classrooms. This discrepancy can exist within the same school and grade level, making the technology experience of some students far greater than others. Realizing the lack of equity is only half the battle. Administrators and Teacher Leaders need to then devise a plan to help educate those teachers so that they are less intimidated, and begin to realize the educational impact technology can have on students in today’s classrooms.
Professional Development Offerings
PD sessions should be offered within each school building related to technology in the classroom. Sessions should include topics from initial set up features, to implementation practices to meet educational standards. Since there will undoubtedly be a variety of needs in a single building, there should be a variety of topics offered to help meet the needs of the educators. Encourage teachers who have experience using technology to lead these sessions. Professional development will help those teachers build confidence, thus making it more likely they will use it in their classroom.
One of the most common excuses that I often hear when it comes to using technology is #1 other teachers in the building are always using it so it is never free for them to use, or #2 the technology is never working or charged when they need to use it in their classrooms. These two excuses can be overcome by creating a technology schedule for the building. My elementary building has taken inventory of when specific grade levels would like to use the technology each day. We then created a schedule to reflect these requests, along with scheduled charging times. Technology is stored in specific locations in the building, and all teachers understand how to care for the technology with regards to charging methods.
Grade Level Teams
One of the most inequitable occurrences when using technology can exist in a single grade level. Visualize this scenario: There are two teachers who teach the same grade level in a particular elementary. One teacher uses and implements technology into their teaching and student learning daily, while the other teacher rarely does. The students in each of these classrooms are getting a very different education. To avoid this inequitable educational setting, grade level teams need to support each other and plan together to ensure that all students are getting the same education regardless of their teacher.
Get Over It!
Yes, just get over the fact that you will probably not be a technology expert. Even though a teacher is not an expert, the students should still be able to use the technology in the classroom. Don’t worry, the students will know more and be more of a risk taker when it comes to technology than the teacher. Encourage students to support one another in the classroom, and capitalize on their technology discoveries!