- Teachers need to know they won’t be penalized for trying new tech-based instructional strategies that may not be successful
- Administrators are instrumental in supporting teachers whether these attempts do or don’t reach success
- See related article: With greater access to devices, teachers are folding more tech into instruction
Technology is quickly changing the way we learn and teach. To keep up with these changes, administrators need to support teachers in using technology in the classroom.
Following are three ways administrators can help teachers become successful with technology in the classroom and help student engagement.
1. Encourage innovation. Administrators should encourage teachers to be innovative in their use of technology by giving them the freedom to experiment and explore new technologies. Allow teachers to try–and fail. When teachers know they are allowed to fail, they can be original in their innovations. Create a culture of innovation by celebrating teachers who are successful in using technology to improve student learning.
Encourage teachers to try flipping their classrooms and use project-based learning experiences. Give teachers access to resources and support, such as online tutorials and teacher communities. Assure that your school allows time for teachers to discuss with staff or in their PLC how they use technology in the classroom. Innovation causes more innovation.
2. Provide funding. Technology can be expensive, so administrators need to provide funding for teachers to purchase and maintain the technology they need by setting aside money for hardware, software, apps, and accessories. They can also provide funding for professional development opportunities that will help teachers learn how to use technology effectively. Try using Google Forms so teachers can write quick proposals to get the tech as quickly as possible. Funding can be difficult in schools, but we must make technology a priority since it is going to be a huge part of our student’s future. Consider using grant funding and/or Donors Choose to support teachers’ use of technology or partner with businesses and organizations to provide teachers with access to technology. We can’t let a lack of funding affect student success.
3. Offer professional development. In 4 Ways to Develop a Team of Forward-Looking Tech Enthusiasts (Andrade, 2022), David Andrade writes, “…teachers can learn how to use [tech] tools just as their students do–through trial and error and watching how others do it.” Doing so can help spark ideas for innovative tech integration and keep teachers from doing the same old thing. Professional development is essential for helping teachers learn how to use technology effectively. Administrators can offer professional development opportunities that are specific to the needs of their teachers and that are aligned with the school’s goals. Offer professional development opportunities that are specific to the needs of teachers and that are aligned with the school’s goals. Provide professional development opportunities that are delivered in a variety of formats, such as online courses, workshops, and one-on-one coaching. Partner with universities and other organizations to offer professional development opportunities for teachers.
4. Have clear expectations for technology as a school. Make sure expectations and rules for using technology are taught and reviewed throughout the year. Teach digital citizenship (Common Sense Education is a great source of materials) to keep students safe and responsible online. Make sure teachers feel supported when enforcing rules and keep parents involved with digital newsletters.
By taking these steps and reaching out to teachers about their technology needs, administrators can help teachers use technology to improve student learning and prepare students for the 21st-century workforce and to be lifelong learners.
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