Reality Check

Is technology really the answer to understanding the Digital Generation?

GUEST COLUMN | by Jean-Pierre Trudeau

Selwyn House School laptopThe digital generation is already more advanced in the use and understanding of technology than most teachers. So how is throwing more technology into classrooms making them learn better? It does, perhaps, increase their interest slightly — but the learning part has to come from the teacher. I believe the problem is not with the students but rather a lack of professional development, or rather, a lack of interest from most teachers — to go outside their comfort zone. When I ask teachers about technology integration, the immediate answer I get most of the time is either ‘not enough time to learn’ or, ‘it’s just too complicated’. It is true that not a lot of time is given for professional development. Instead, we want to roll out new tablets or devices as soon as possible without having the teachers actually ready. Here are a few tips that I have found to be useful in pushing technology integration — not on the students — but on the teachers.

1. Start small. Find in your organization a few people who are really keen on pushing technology and give them the most support you can, in return they will spread the word and entice others to try things out, mainly because if that teacher can do it why can’t I attitude.

2. Send tips. Send helpful/useful tips and tricks once a week that people can use, either for time-saving help or that can help in their teaching.

3. Provide real examples. Use concrete classroom examples of how a software, tools or websites can be easier or better then how they are currently doing things. For example, Student Portfolios made in PowerPoint — why not try Padlet.com (a great portfolio wall tool accessible online and free).

4. Talk about trends. Explain to staff what the Educational Technology trends are such as flipping, online learning, and social media.

Or what trends the students are interested in such as Instagram, Minecraft, etc… The Digital Generations respond great to people who take an interest in what they like, you may not integrate some of these in your course but being able to discuss it. This will create a bond with your students on a personal level.

The more teachers start to integrate technology in their teaching, the more confident they will get and the more they will leave their comfort zone with confidence. This will dramatically improve their teaching and relationship with their students.

Jean-Pierre Trudeau is currently the Laptop Manager at Selwyn House School in Westmount, Montreal, Canada. He is A+, MCSA, Security+, Project+, CCENT, ACTC, ACMT certified. Find him on twitter @jptrudeau  Write to: jeanpierretrudeau@gmail.com

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