Continuous Training: The Answer to Becoming Technology-Ready
The Need for Continuous Training
Continuous training and learning is an important aspect of self-improvement that should not be relegated to the side. We all need to learn something new in order for us to cope and keep pace with the changing times. Technology for example is an area where continuous training and learning is necessary.
Teachers should take the initiative to learn new skills relative to the use of new technology in their profession. Teachers can perhaps learn how to surf the web and participate in community sites in order to use the familiar concepts as building blocks for school subject matter.
Teachers can also take basic training on the use of computers and learning common softwares alongside familiarizing themselves on the benefits of using the internet to download contents and materials, share new ideas with colleagues and interact with their students and their parents.
A survey was recently conducted and revealed reasons why some teachers easily adapt to the technological changes especially on the use of digital tools in lesson planning and preparation. The same survey likewise uncovered reasons why some teachers are not motivated to use technology. Converting these teachers to be technology-ready is a challenge we all must face and find long-lasting solutions.
The Technology Today
Technology is often associated with something tangible, mechanical or in our case digital but its scope and meaning continues to evade us. It is elusive in a sense that it is defined by the era or time where it first appeared. To add to its complexity, technology is very much interrelated with culture, society, politics and even religion which are all evolving.
The discovery of fire by the early men is a technological leap as it allowed food to be cooked and kept people warm. The invention of the wheel is another technological advancement that allowed easy transport of goods and people. Another technological breakthrough is the invention of the printing press where it paved the way for the spread of learning and knowledge across the world. Therefore, to use these concepts for our purposes, technology is the, “practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.” (Merriam-Webster, 2013)
The speed by which we communicate these days as well as how fast we process information are another form of innovations included in the long line of technological advances we have so far. The internet, “smart” phones, high speed and multi-tasking computers are some of the tools people utilize to take advantage of these current technologies.
In the field of education, there is what is called, educational technology dealing primarily with e-learning or “facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” (Richey, 2008). Teachers and students nowadays are adapting to the varied changes happening around specifically as it pertains to how teachers teach and students learn and the role of technology in those activities. The use of gadgets and similar devices facilitate teaching and learning in the 21st century.
In a survey conducted among American middle and secondary school teachers done in 2012, about the impact of digital technologies in their role as teachers, 92% of the respondents said that the internet has a major impact on their ability to look for contents and materials. While 69% said that their ability to share ideas with other teachers greatly improved thru the use of the internet and 67% said that their interactions with the parents of the students were enhanced because of their access to the internet (Purcell et. al., 2013).
The survey just shows that the use of digital tools in lesson planning and preparation are very much accepted and widely utilized to the benefit of the different stakeholders involved in education and learning. Yet, it is also a fact that there are still teachers not adept to using technology in their profession. The result is a decrease in their productivity and efficiency as a professional which can ultimately affect how they deliver their lessons and conduct their classes.
Support is Necessary
In an article entitled, “Encouraging Teacher Technology Use” (2013), the main reason that was identified why some teachers are adept at using technology in their line of work is the support they receive from their schools in terms of the proper provision of computers and other hardwares, regular training on the use of educational and administrative softwares as well as mandatory use of e-mails in all their communications. In some schools the printing or production of hardcopies of such communications and documents are even prohibited so that the teachers are “forced” to regularly open their emails and check for updates there.
But the sad part is, as the same article mentions, that some teachers are still not that too enthusiastic and proficient when it comes to using technology whether this is at school or at their own homes. This is because their school lacks the required facilities and resources for these activities. Not only that, the school also lacks the available trained personnel who can properly implement these technological changes. As a result, teachers’ develop a lack of confidence in using existing technology in their teaching. What Should We Do?
With these findings, it is imperative for school administrators to provide the necessary support and resources so that teachers will not be left behind when compared to their colleagues who are active technology users or those who are technology ready.
The other responsibility should also fall on the shoulders of the teachers themselves to take the initiative to learn new skills relative to use of new technology in their profession. Learning these new skills can make them more efficient and effective in their work.
We have indeed come a long way since the first men discovered the fire for a practical purpose. The real challenge for us then is not just knowing what are the latest form of technology and that this technology is here to stay and will still continue to evolve and change. More importantly, we should determine what steps we should take in order to fully utilize these advantages for our own collective benefit. And continuous training is one of them.
Encouraging teacher technology use (2013), Retrieved June 18, 2013 from: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech159.shtml Merriam-Webster (2013), Retrieved June 18, 2013 from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/technology
Purcell, K., Heaps, A., Buchanan, J. and Friedrich, L. (2013), How teachers are using technology at home and in their classrooms, Retrieved June 18, 2013 from: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teachers-and-technology.aspx
Richey, R.C. (2008), Reflections on the 2008 aect definitions of the field techtrends. 52(1) pp.24-25.
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