10 Habits of Tech-Savvy Professors
If you’ve ever found yourself reciting the phrase, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you’ve likely observed older coworkers, and family members refuse smartphones and tablets. As a professor, this kind of attitude is unacceptable. Your students need an education infused with technology, and it’s your responsibility to become a tech-expert yourself.
We’re breaking down the top 10 habits of tech-savvy professors! Implement these in your professional life and regain control of the classroom.
- They Invest in Personal Development: If you’re new to the world of tech, do everything you can to invest in yourself. Invest time in trips to the library for reading material, invest money in online courses that offer advanced instruction and speak to higher-ups at your university about opportunities for additional training. Remember: great schools make internal professional development a priority!
- They Practice, Practice, Practice: Sometimes this means investing in new equipment or speaking to the school board about implementing new classroom resources. After all, to learn how to use technology, you must have technology that’s easily accessible. Once the physical resources are available, anyone can master an unfamiliar digital landscape by taking the time to practice, practice, and practice. We recommend having an iPad or digital device at home that mimics tools students use in the classroom for additional, at-home practice. It’s better to make mistakes in the privacy of your own home than a lecture hall filled with 200 students.
- They Listen (To Their Own Students!): Let’s face it. Unless you’re Steve Wozniak, the students in your classroom can handle a tablet better than you can. As a professor, it’s difficult to feel like your students know more than you. But don’t be afraid to ask them questions and listen to their advice. Get the perspective of students who love online learning and figure out how their minds adapt to new tools. Your students can be your best tech resource if you allow them to be.
- They Have Confidence: The less certain you feel handling technology, the less motivation you’ll have to continue mastering new resources. The more courses you take, the more materials you read, and the more Google searches you navigate through, the more inspired you’ll feel to continue educating yourself. Build up your confidence through practice and don’t let little mistakes discourage you.
- They Focus on the Purpose: Every edtech tool implemented should be applied with a particular purpose in mind, whether that’s to address students struggling with dense material or inspire students to improve their research skills. Likewise, every tech-savvy professors understand why they’re learning what they’re learning, whether that’s to improve their ability to navigate classroom web pages or understand how to pull information from an online database quickly. If you don’t understand why it’s important for you to master a particular program, you’ll never successfully communicate that information to your students.
- They Create Their Own Web Presence: Create your own blog, website, or social profile. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn navigating a web page that you’re responsible for managing and updating. You’ll learn to troubleshoot, you’ll master the principles of digital design, you’ll figure out how to communicate effectively with other influencers online, and you may even learn basic coding.
- They’re Fearless: Like anything else, don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid to troubleshoot and, when things get especially tough, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even professionals who’ve mastered tools like Adobe Photoshop and Avid Media Composer have, at one point, doubted their ability to do so. Once you have a little experience under your belt, technology begins to feel less frightening and more enjoyable.
- They Communicate: Communicate with fellow faculty members who’ve been in your shoes, communicate with higher-ups who’ve recommended resources to other professors and communicate with your students. If you’ve got a classroom full of tech pros, figure out how they’ve learned to adapt quickly and implement their advice.
- They Stay Up-To-Date on Tech Trends: Read articles about software updates, follow the launch of new products, watch news stories on cutting-edge technology, and subscribe to blogs outlining digital trends. Once you’ve got an understanding of the modern tech landscape, mastering specific tools becomes much easier.
- They Love Change: This takes serious practice. The tech world is constantly evolving, and the minute you revert back to old resources, you’ll stop learning. Accept software updates with open arms, listen to fellow professors who’ve implemented tools in their classrooms that you’re unfamiliar with, and make an effort to shed stubborn habits. Otherwise, the modern world will leave you behind.
Technology is a part of the professional landscape. It requires knowledge of digital citizenship, and it allows for effective communication and collaboration. Not to mention, many schools that have implemented tech programs for students have witnessed incredible student growth, increased efficiency, and higher test scores. Like it or not, technology is here to stay. It’s your job as an educator to prepare students for the dangers our digital landscape presents while instilling essential habits for healthy tech consumption. For that to happen, you as the professor must master technology and become savvier than those who’ve grown up with an iPad glued to their hands.