Education Technology Role Models
I’m not sure if the educator role models using education technology in classrooms, today, differ enough from the Lone Ranger pioneers of the last few decades. While it is common to find at least one teacher in most schools deemed the guru of teaching with technology, it is still an anomaly in most districts. And when you do discover those talented enough to teach with technology seamlessly, they may be the most misunderstood educators in a school, and the coolest with students and parents, but many times the least appreciated by their administrators. That part about kids and parents is the benefit that keeps most in the game longer, but far too many leave teaching prematurely to find larger acceptance outside their chosen field. That line about never being a prophet in your own land is far too common when it comes to educators, especially those who dazzle and engage students with technology-based love of learning.
You would think, that this wouldn’t be the case with so many wonderful gadgets in the hands of students, and proper devices and Internet connectivity for teachers and in schools. But the sad fact is that even with all the technology now dependably available, at reasonable prices, educators and students still lag behind with enough knowledge to use the right tools beyond simple apps, slideshows, and worksheet-style activities. If you are an educator and haven’t seen more than that, then the use of technology for teaching and student learning doesn’t move forward. You know what you know, and that’s it. If the role models for technology use in the classroom aren’t there to push the envelope, leading to the next level, staying comfortably the same is where a school, or district will unfortunately stay.
I propose a monthly Discover Your Instructional Technology Teaching Mentor recognition for those, who go above and beyond. Instead of a plaque or a trophy, let the award be a chance to present to the entire school’s or district’s staff as a sort of how-to-teach in show and tell format. Putting a Lone Ranger educator on stage is a nice career spotlight. It also says to others that trying something different is acceptable. It is a great incentive, too, for those who would love to share, but aren’t quite certain they have something share-worthy.
Sometimes it takes recognition by others to point out great deeds and to create that necessary spark. Administrators and school districts, of course, get much more out of this. Leadership that recognizes trailblazers with instructional technology skills can promote an excitement throughout a building and a district. If it’s only a small piece of a school climate campaign—this sort of recognition can help lead change in many areas! Today, teachers successfully teaching with technology, and students eager to take on their next learning challenges, should be the norm and not the extraordinary.
About the Author:
Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is a Promethean storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.