What Educators Should Know
We are at a time when educators need to know what they don’t know. Teachers, who may be using technology in a last century way, need to be mentored to help them understand what they’ve missing. For most, that means a need to see some examples of what they could use to help them teach what they already teach—differently. Let’s call this discovering the missing puzzle pieces, and fitting them into the total education picture. Somehow, these important show and tell lessons are still neglected in pre-service learning. If a pre-service educator, teacher in training, or student teacher gets instructional technology training, it still may only be a class or less. It doesn’t make sense. It is equivalent to the old fashioned, last minute, AV training given to new teachers decades ago, when the filmstrip projector was high tech. Today, we need educators teaching with technology, and education solutions in classes, where students, sorry to say, still know more about the technology. That’s not good enough! What can be done?
At this time, every education course, in every higher-education teacher learning facility, should have instructional technology as part of each semester hour for anyone entering the teaching profession. That should be from the start—and carry on throughout—to graduation. Pre-service educators should be as adept, and comfortable with modern classroom tools and solutions, in each teaching lesson, so that those tools become a ubiquitous part—become a part of teacher and lesson. The tools for this century should involve cloud-base lesson planning, delivery, as well as student digital technology engagement practices. If, those teaching our newest, and brightest, educators aren’t, themselves, teaching in that fashion, it is a disservice, because we need educators, now, that have reached a running instructional technology start right out of the blocks, when entering their first classroom assignments.
Because pre-service educators may meet education mentors at the doors of their new teaching assignments, who know more about, let’s just call it, traditional classroom management skills than instructional technology skills, it is imperative that new educators are equipped to know how classroom management is less of a problem if students are engaged using the right tools, as well as along with intriguing project-based activities. The point is, that if pre-service educators understand how to motivate students in a new learning environment, where all can work as individuals and collaborate as well, the classroom will resemble more a learning workshop than a managed assembly line.
Higher education cannot do it alone. Companies involved in education solutions and with products that indirectly, or directly have an instructional technology connection, must get involved, too. After all, if the tools and solutions an education company sells will be, or hope to find their way into schools, classrooms, teachers’, and students’ hands, it makes sense to get involved with pre-service educators who will be helping to lead instruction, and guide future student learning. Simply by supporting education learning at higher education levels, whether at community colleges, universities, or elsewhere, an education company should see it as an obligation to get involved.
Corporate involvement is good for the pre-service educator, good for the colleges or universities, and very good for the company that gets involved, too. That said, many companies, large and small, have already done this, but more awareness needs to be raised, and more needs to be done. The last thing we want, today, are teachers prepared only for the chalkboard age, entering classrooms, where students are dreaming about traveling to Mars, and ready to use today’s tools to figure out how to colonize new worlds. The energetic and creative learning leaders, the educators of today, need help doing that, and all students, today, certainly deserve teachers with proper, appropriate, and seamless instructional technology skills. This should be a pre-requisite, and not an after-the-fact thought—anymore.
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.