When bringing devices into the school, the focus of learning tends to shift to the tool instead of remaining on the instruction. Students have to understand how technology can support their learning. It is essential that teachers develop their skills on how to use the device to enhance the instructional program. When teachers are resistant to technology, it is usually due to lack of resources, time to learn and confidence with the new device. To encourage teachers to become technology proficient, principals must create an integration plan with a focused vision, engaging staff development, and a plan to monitor the change. So how can we prepare our teachers to integrate technology when they feel it will be an overwhelming process?
Professional development must have a focus and a plan. How will the use of technology enhance instructional strategies? Technology will not transform instruction when the device is being used to complete the same pen and paper tasks. The successful integration of technology depends on the vision in the three core areas of curriculum, instruction, and professional learning. Professional development focuses on the sharing of foundational teaching strategies, which are enhanced by the use of technology. Schools must prepare for the integration and develop a carefully thought-out plan.
It is essential that the leaders in the school model effective use of technology and participate in teacher training sessions. The commitment of the administrator to use technology daily will set a precedence of the importance of integration. Principals and lead teachers need to share tips and model the use that is supported by sound teaching. Reluctant teachers must understand how to use the tool and how it will improve instruction. The process of integration will take time, and active professional development provides teachers with opportunities to participate and practice using the tool.
Make it Easy
Teachers need to understand how the use of technology will support the instructional strategies they are already using. By putting the computers into the classrooms, it allows for easy accessibility, so it is not an isolated learning tool. Professional development is more powerful when it occurs alongside the students, rather than in a meeting. Peer mentors are a great resource and have more of an impact on learning when they can work in the classroom with the teacher.
Proficient use of technology in schools will not occur overnight. Change takes time and the plan created needs to align with a long-term process. There must be an emphasis on professional development, and skilled mentors need to be supporting teacher learning. The monitoring of the efficient use of technology and the continued professional development will support teachers as they become familiar with the tools and programs available.