Where Do Teachers Turn for Technology Assistance?
Being a teacher and being a technology expert are two very different professions, and although some teachers are also technology experts, many teachers are left in the dark with regards to technology. Where can teachers go for technology assistance in our very technology heavy 21st century? For some teachers, especially those who have more experience, and are inching towards retirement, advances in technology are happening too quickly for teachers to keep up with the changes.
Where Can You Start Looking for Help?
The first place many teachers are looking for help regarding technology issues is the internet. Within the last 30 years, the internet has become the primary source of information sharing worldwide. According to a 2016 survey taken by the thejournal.com, 37% of teachers go directly online to look for help regarding the use of new technologies in the classroom. The second largest category where teachers seek help is not surprisingly peers at 23%.
One of the best resources of any source of information is speaking with the people you know in your field, which includes current and former colleagues, other professionals in your field from classes or any other professional development courses you have attended, and even your supervisor. There is something to be learned from everyone, young and old. Don’t hesitate to ask someone younger or older than you for help. Younger professionals may be more up to date on technological advances as they have grown up in the technology age. Although older, more experienced professionals might not be aware of every app or device available, they have years of experience and wisdom regarding teaching and the education field at large, as well as advice and wisdom to offer younger professionals.
Make Use of Your IT Department, Staff, and Help Desk
Not all IT Departments are always available to provide immediate assistance to a teacher’s request for service or instruction regarding a new product, program, or database, however, it never hurts to ask for their help! If you are a teacher seeking technological assistance, don’t overlook some of your best options which include asking your school’s Help Desk and or IT Department for help. Ask the members of your staff if they can provide you with assistance. Make use of the resources you already have due to your membership on the school faculty.
Students Can Help Too!
Sometimes our students can be the best teachers! Everyone can be both a teacher and a learner. Our students can sometimes be the best source of help when it comes to technology. Our students for certain are growing up in the age of technology and digital media. Sometimes when teachers don’t understand a program, there may a student or two who can teach how to use our programs and devices. For example, a teacher may be new to using iPads, but maybe his or her students might not be. Speak to your students and ask them for advice too!
Vendor or Manual
Who likes to read manuals? Let’s be honest, not many people like to read manuals, or contact the vendor of a product regarding its uses. If you cannot find a solution by talking to your colleagues, your students, surfing the internet, or speaking with your IT department, try just reading the manual. Look at diagrams, and ask others to help you understand the manual. Sometimes contacting the maker of the product can lead you to answers regarding how to effectively use each device.
If you are a little bit more tech savvy, consider posting a question, or reading the answers to others’ questions regarding technology or certain devices that you may be using in the classroom. Sometimes the answer to your question has already been asked and answered by another professional on an online forum. They are an excellent source for information that is too often overlooked.
How to Use Your Resources:
Although it can be difficult at times to ask for help, there are endless resources available for teachers to learn about specific devices and programs now being used in the classroom. If you are looking for help, you can begin by asking people that you know, especially your colleagues. Don’t forget that even your students can help you. If your co-workers are unable to answer your technological questions, chances are they are a little confused too.
They may be grateful if you request assistance from your supervisor because they too might have been hoping that someone else would ask the same question. If you do not prefer to seek the advice of others in person, there is always the internet just at the click of a button. The internet is widely available and has become one of the best resources for information across the globe.