Monday, August 30, 2010

Overcoming Technofobia: The Teachers Issue

The dawn of 21st century has seen an explosion in technology-based solutions and an extension of it has been placed int the realm of education. However, the use of technology in education is not focused as much as in other sectors such as business and health. While technical solutions are expanding exponentially and an emphasis has been placed on the "wired", technical skills are not developing in the same pace.Therefore, most teachers are legging behind for finding themselves lacking the basic technological understanding and skills that are core to successfully operate these solutions.
Do you suffer from Technofobia? [Future generations truly hope not]
Question #1 - How can I help overcome the view of technology as "dangerous"?
- Start up by defining projects using technology clearly: On many occasions, project and technology issues are merely a result of misinformation, which the use of rubrics resolves. The key is to be specific, however, leaving room for student inquiry.
- Allow Students Freedom under a Watchful Eye: become a coach, mentor, and guide for your students. Watch them, learn from them, and keep them on track. Teachers’ responsibilities are not relinquished and they sometimes have to lay down the law; however, this becomes less of a problem as students learn to learn using technology. Let the students explore, create, and develop a better understanding of the concepts they are learning.
Question #2 - How many educators fail to distinguish between "computers" and "technology"?
Every teacher wants to use the best tools to help students learn, and technology integration requires long-term staff development time. Withal, some teachers do undermine the power of technology. It's crucial to mention that a Powepoint presentation does not make you technological.
- Ask for Help to Avoid Technophobia: There is always someone available in a school to offer technological help. Every school has several technology savvy teachers today. Some schools even have on-site technology integration specialists or coaches. Do not be afraid to ask for help, because this leads to a better understanding. Just like teachers tell their students every day, there is no such thing as a dumb question.
- Fear of technology is not new! Embracing technology involves changing routines and opening yourself to r-i-s-k. The fear of technology sometimes comes more often from the fear of change than of technology itself. Open your mind! Use all possible source of technology you might have access to: cell phones, bluetooth, laptops, Ipads, Itouchs, Iphones (and smartphones in general), flash drives, webcams, and of course: your imagination and creativity.
Teacher dispostion and views on technology play a large role in whether the technology is adopted in classroom. John Saye in his book 'Technology in the Classroom: The Role of Teacher Disposition in Gatekeeping' describes 5 kinds of teachers according to their disposition to technology and intolerance for risk:
* Trailblazers *
* Pioneers *
* Settlers *
* Stay-at-homes *
* Saboteurs *
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See you in a post :-)


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