If You Feel Frustrated with Edtech, Let Someone Help You
I was blessed enough to spend 14 years in K-12 and higher education as a teacher/professor. As an educator, I always prided myself on being an innovator when it came to edtech. I spent hours researching the latest teaching and learning technologies and how to implement them into my classroom. However, I had a lot of colleagues who were resistant to using edtech in their classrooms. Not because they were opposed to it, but cause edtech scared them.
My how things have changed
They were trained during an era when overhead projectors were the most high-tech gadget in the classroom. It was easy to use. All you had to do was turn it on and place the transparent visual on top of the device, and it was magically projected on the screen. After use, you needed to remember to turn it off, so you wouldn’t burn the light bulb out. I know I am talking Greek now, but my old school readers understand what I am talking about.
Nowadays, we have interactive surfaces, like Smart Boards and other touch-screen tools, which have become popular in education over the past decade or so. The rise in popularity of these interactive surfaces shows no signs of slowing down, as more and more schools are replacing overhead projectors with interactive options.
Right now, there’s a big push to get teachers to incorporate technology into their lessons. For some teachers, this is no problem—it comes naturally. But for many teachers, bringing technology into the classroom is difficult. Teachers who have been in the profession the longest often struggle the most with incorporating technology. It can be hard to break old habits and try new things when you’ve been doing it the same way for decades. But even the most stubborn, stuck-in-their-ways teachers can learn to use technology.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Change is hard, which is why I decided to write this short piece to let my frustrated low-tech teachers know that there is hope. Rather than feeling embarrassed because you don’t understand something, ask for help. Educators like to help others learn. When I was in the classroom, I was always willing to conduct a professional development training on the latest edtech gadget. If a colleague needed more one on one tutoring, I was still happy to oblige.
Try to get the right kind of help by finding that person on your campus who can explain it the way you will understand it. Who is the person who thinks and learns like you? I know this may be a hard question to answer, but you can do it. It may be a fellow teacher or professor that explains it best. It may be an administrator or a subordinate that describes it best. It may be a student who demonstrates it best. Be okay with that and put your ego in check.
Remember, the most intelligent people continuously ask questions, because obtaining knowledge is more important than prideful ignorance. It’s not about you. It’s about the students who in your charge. They are digital natives, which means their entire life revolves around technology. To reach them, you must meet them where they are, which is in front of a piece of technology.
What did I miss? What advice would you give to teachers that are frustrated with edtech?