LT Thought of the Week – When it comes to Technology, teachers need as much scaffolding as students

Technology a funny beast. In recent years, the rate of change leaves many of us spellbound and, at the best of times, feeling like we’re on some colossal treadmill running as fast as we can and only barely managing to keep up with the change. While I like to pride myself on being more up-to-date than many, even I get to the weekend feeling like there’s so much more I need to know to be an effective practitioner in the C.21st.

This week’s post comes from Mark Gleeson, a primary teacher who uses his practical experience with technology in the classroom to inform his own research and regularly reflects on his work. In the post “When it comes to Technology, teachers need as much scaffolding as students,” Gleeson argues that one of the biggest shortcomings of the education system is “the lack of a systematic framework for developing teacher capacity and competency in teaching with technology.” In arguing that, more often than not, “technology is just thrown at us and expected to magically stick to us and develop,” Gleeson highlights a fundamental problem in his own system that clearly needs addressing. When we think about it, he has a point: how many of us have been in the situation where we’ve felt out of our depth when a brand new technology is just pushed out? In the sessions that I’ve run over the years, I know that I’m as guilty as the next LT leader in the next school or system of spruking something new and hoping that it catches on. Of course, it often does – and this is a testament to the awesome teachers that we are – but I’ve often had another reaction to the effect: “this is really great, Michael, but when can I get the time to properly figure it out and work with it?”

Gleeson suggests that the key to solving this problem is the following:

  1. PLTs dedicated to Technology integration into our teaching practices
  2. A constant focus on Technology throughout lesson and unit planning
  3. A restructuring of the role of ICT Leaders/teachers in schools
  4. A greater focus on Technology in Teacher Training programs
  5. A commitment to Technology Professional Development courses on an equal footing with Literacy and Numeracy Projects.

I recommend reading the post, which goes into some detail on each of these points and offers some tips for schools to tweak existing structures and practices to support teachers more effectively. In saying that, I think we all need to acknowledge that the teacher has enormous value in terms of the investment made when it comes to technology professional development. When we invest in really empowering a teacher to use technology, that has a net effect on the lives of hundreds – and thousands – of students over many years. Of course, I remain committed to doing what I can to support those around me. .


About Michael

Cellist, singer/songwriter, school teacher, nerd, recent scooter enthusiast and failed philosopher.
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