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Teachers need to integrate technology into instruction. Perhaps a broad tech test could be given. You would be required to take classes in any parts in which you did poorly. Some teachers make assignments that they couldn't complete!
The last time I looked the tech world was continuing to accelerate producing new hardware, new software, new capabilities and the rest faster than most of us can keep up. Perhaps you don't notice this, Karen, because you work in a school, usually the last place innovation shows its shadow.
What we need is a system that not just allows, but encourages students at ALL levels to be entrepreneurial, to follow their passions and interests. To do this we must understand that knowledge i holistic and not divided into neat little packages called "math", "science", "social studies", and the abomination called "English language arts". Then we need to instruct in ways that acknowledge, celebrate and utilize this interrelation between everything, that developing a new insight, new understanding, or new idea changes EVERYTHING. This is far bigger an idea than the butterfly effect, it is the notion that knowledge is like one of those loosely gel-filled little pillows that shift and move all over as you put pressure on one spot, only without the outside walls holding it all together. Instead, it is hold together by the axons of the collective human brain.
We seem to be moving in that direction ever so slowly in our tentative embrace of collaboration, of cross-curricular units (while the word 'cross-curricular' itself maintains the artificial knowledge divide), and the like. It is a good start, but the pace needs to accelerate to overcome institutional inertia and for real change to occur.
Of course I try, and I think everyone should! But I don't think training should be mandatory. Some very fine teachers don't use a lot of tech, but a little. How would mandatory training -- plus the obstacles I get to work around -- make them better?
You will try? Do you accept half-hearted effort from your students? Working through road blocks demonstrates creative problem solving to your students. Technology is continually emerging, this is the world our students are living in...we need to show them we are life-long learners first if we want them to become life-long learners...just sayin'
Too many assumptions with this question -- like, 1) your own Smartboard works 2) you have a Smartboard 3) you have working laptops/computers/pads in your classroom 4) you can spare 10 minutes walking back and forth to the computer lab 5) you have time to help your students log onto the district computer, and then log onto whatever website you might want to use 6) you students know how to find letters on the keyboard 7) your students know the difference between a capital and a lower case letter 8) your students know the difference between / and \ 9) your students are patient enough to let you check their blog remarks for appropriateness 10) your district doesn't block youtube.com! I will continue to try to use technology in my classroom, but the idea that you're a horrible teacher because you don't MUST STOP! So many roadblocks, so little time.
Hostile, Karen! Your robot activity might be the tin can and string of someone else.
A math teacher said, "I absolutely agree with a previous poster that technology is a tool for education, not the goal." Technology is anything man-made, from a pencil to a Smartboard. The goal should be to use technology to help students practice problem-solving and inventing using math and literacy as tools.
Perhaps if the "TE" in STEM were "tested" we might have more innovation, computer scientists and engineers. That test could be to program a robot to spell a word as one example, something my K-5 students have been working on. Until the focus in the classroom and accountability is hands-on projects created from the learners' mind, the debate will continue. A major point in the State of the Union Address was about the need for researchers and scientists. Math and science focus does not seem to be producing what we need. Maybe it is time to change the focus to CSE.
I absolutely agree with a previous poster that technology is a tool for education, not the goal.
Identifying my desired outcome determines my choice in tools. For example, when I am working with my students in comparing and ordering number forms & different number representations, there are some days when I hand out an iTouch to each student and each student works independently, and there are other days when I hand out stacks of laminated cards and they work in pairs or small groups.
Usually the biggest obstacle to me in using high-tech is access -- can I get the iTouch cart?, can I get the computer cart?, is the wireless internet working for online laptop work?, etc.
Finally, and getting to the poll question about requiring tech training for teachers, it is my observation that using the high-tech materials requires a certain skill set from teachers. I may not always ~want to go or have time to go to required trainings, but I usually find that it has been a valuable experience once I have gone.
[quote]We cannot teach students more than we know.
I'm not sure what this means and I hope I have misunderstood the intention of the statement.
I think that a truer statement is that teachers shouldn't allow their own lack of content knowledge get in the way of students pursuing learning through whatever means they can. Teachers must become comfortable with the facilitator or instructional coach role that allows students to move forward. Teachers can then apply their skill in creating instructional opportunity and meaningful standards-based assessment that results in student growth. Identify and incorporate the technology tools that students are using, connect them to standards and the curriculum, give appropriate, rich feedback and don't stand in the way.
Students do already know the technology. Tech training for teachers will help a little bit, but unless we use the technology as much as our students do we will always be playing catch up.
Instead, we need to train teachers to teach to higher order thinking skills.
Plus, we need to use what students know to teach them what they need to know.
Technology is just one tool in a whole toolbox that teachers need to use in order to teach effectively. Training teachers to teach well and to teach higher order thinking skills will result in the teachers seeking out the best tools for the job. Sometimes that will be tech, and in those instances, the well-trained teacher will also seek help with the technology tools...even if that help comes from a student who happens to know more about the equipment.
In short, the technology is not the goal; education is. Use the best tool for the job - tech or otherwise.