Monday, 19 August 2013

There are almost as many teaching styles as there are teachers, but the teachers that have a lasting impact on their students—the ones who change lives—usually have a few things in common.  The same goes for those who use technology in the classroom. Educators don’t have to be particularly tech savvy or completely understand the ins and outs of computer science in order to utilise technological resources in the classroom. But teachers who tackle technology and use it to engage students, do have parallel approaches and characteristics.
Our My Big Campus Senior Coach, Matthew Kitchens developed a list of 7 characteristics that many of these teachers have in common
Teachers who effectively use technology:
1. Improvise. When the first option doesn’t work, they create a backup plan—and then a backup to the backup. They constantly tweak their approach, materials, and lessons to achieve optimal results and to meet students’ needs.
2. Learn from their mistakes. They recognise what went right in a lesson and question what went wrong. Then, they adjust accordingly. Continuing evaluation is one of the most powerful ways that these teachers achieve success in the classroom.
3. Collaborate. Teachers who effectively use technology are collaborative. They constantly share and remix ideas with their peers and with their students. One thought leads to new variations and new visions of the original idea. Two heads are better than one, and 3 or 4 are even better!
4. Look ahead.  Layering skills is very important in technology and in education, in general. One lesson provides a foundation for the lessons that follow. Teachers who have success with technology in the classroom, plan ahead and teach skills in a methodical order so that students can build on what they know.
5. Take initiative. The world often doesn’t like change, but teachers who use technology are the change makers. They don’t cower at the thought of uncharted territory, and, in fact, appreciate the opportunity for a new experience. Their motto becomes, “Lead, follow, or get out of my way.”
6. Teach and learn. For those who take advantage of technology in the classroom, teaching and learning are a way of life. They understand that the most effective teachers are those who are also constantly learning. The opportunity to learn something new and/or impart knowledge to others is something they seek inside and outside of the classroom.
7. Are tenacious. They are stubborn problem solvers. Technology is ever-changing and most teachers aren’t specifically trained in computer science. But, these teachers don’t hide from advancements or changes; they recognise the value of new resources and relish the challenge of finding solutions.
Teachers who embark on the rewarding journey of using technology in the classroom are critical trailblazers. Our hats are off to them for the challenges they face and the ways they turn those challenges into opportunities to teach.
Do you know a teacher like this? Tell us about him/her! Are you one of these teachers that we’re celebrating? What’s your approach? What characteristics make your use of technology a success in the classroom?