This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of distance degree students. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com
Being a teacher is difficult on its best days. In some states, teacher salaries barely exceed minimum wage once you consider the amount of time put in throughout the school year.
In the face of low pay, standardized tests, and increasing demand for better technology education for students, teachers are at a crossroads between what they can realistically achieve and what needs to be done to ensure the success of students. This includes how to learn all the new technologies being lobbed at them by well-intentioned corporate sponsors and school boards.
Some considerations for improving technology training for teachers:
Provide adequate training for teachers for new technologies. As teachers are not always the most tech-savvy group, they sometimes need extra guidance and training; school districts must provide the infrastructure for this. This means increasing tech support and IT personnel to facilitate the process.
Educators are overburdened with so much responsibility that it can be difficult for them to see technology education as anything other than another responsibility. A paradigm shift will need to occur before the idea is fully embraced. This will take more than an edict from school administrators, but real dialogue and data to support how technology changes the classroom for the better. Improved technology planning and solidified curricula will also help.
Parents can be enlisted to lend a hand to help with training and support. Many parents are in technology-related fields and can offer guidance, reassurance and even services.
Teachers willing to improve their technology education skills should be compensated. It's that simple. More money can be a great catalyst and technology education is important enough to the future of this country's students, that there should be more incentive to embrace it.
Learning new technologies can be difficult and time consuming. While it's great that schools are seeing more computers come into their classrooms, if no one knows how best to leverage them for educational purposes, they may quickly become large, dusty paperweights.
It really does take a village and whether we're talking about parental involvement, increased support from the district and school board, or better compensation for highly-committed teachers, the argument should focus on the best ways to improve technologies in the classroom. And, right now, we're just not quite there.