TRAINING LIKE A TEACHER FOR A TEACHER

As a teacher, how many times have you sat through a professional development session guided by a Powerpoint presentation or lecture instructing us on how Powerpoint presentations and lectures are not the best way for people to learn? 

We expect our students to learn differently than how adults learn, and while there are some differences (mostly in regard to motivation), the best practices associated with teaching students isn't much different than those for how to best teach our teachers.

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HUMAN-CENTERED TECH SUPPORT

 I firmly believe in educational technology that puts people (i.e., the students and teachers) first. What does this mean?

I've often seen others stereotype teachers, particularly older teachers, as being timid around technology. Often this is done with negative connotations: "They just don't want to adapt to the times." "They're just not very technology-savvy." "It's just hard for them to understand."

And I can't help but to think about how the image of technology in schools likely contributes to this stereotype. How many teachers can picture the technology department staff in a back office, generally unseen unless it's to pop in and out of a classroom to address some hardware issue, seemingly generally disinterested in the teacher's and students' agenda, making the teacher feel inadequate by overwhelming them with technology-lingo that isn't innately familiar to them, before fleeing back into the depths of their office until the next technology glitch summons them out again. 

With this often cold and calculating (even condescending) image of the technology department's role in schools, it's no wonder that many teachers are hesitate about technology integration in their classroom, frequently viewing it as more of a threat of invasion from outside, disinterested "techy" parties than as the support role to their instructional agenda that it is supposed to provide.

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OBTAINING BUY-IN AND EMPOWERMENT IN TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION: TEACHERS AS INNOVATORS VS. USERS OF TECHNOLOGY

Too often those of us in technology, perhaps to justify our jobs or prove our abilities, rely on putting the "technology first" in educational settings. This happens too with those of us in educational administration: Often wowed by the “bells and whistles” of various technology products or wanting to make our school "21st century,” we may make attempts to integrate "technology just for technology's sake." But when we do this, we often forget to ask the most important questions first: Do the teachers or students even want this? Did any of them ask for it? Does it solve a known problem for them or improve their work? And if so, is this something they told us or is it something we are telling them?

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