Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology

Fri, 15 Feb, 2013    effectiveengagementhigher educationteacherstechnology

I just recently read an article called, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology."  I found this to be interesting because much of what is addressed in the article are things that I have experienced while trying to assist classroom teachers in integrating technology into their classroom lessons.  There seems to be a lot of misconceptions from the public when it comes to the use of technology in the classroom.  And this also applies to college professors that use technology in their classrooms.

First of all, it is A) not good enough to just have technology "in the classroom" and B) not worth the money spent if the only person that can use the technology is the teacher.  In order to get the worth out of all the money being spent on technology around the country these days, teachers and/or professors must exhibit several characteristics that make the use of the technology most functional and make themselves highly effective.

To be highly effective at using technology in the classroom, teachers need to ask themselves why they are using a particular technology.  Using technology just to say you're using technology is pointless.  Teachers must use it to promote engaged students and engaging lessons.  They should also be as adaptive as possible because part of using technology is that sometimes it just doesn't work like it's suppose to work.  Furthermore, technology is constantly changing and any professional should be able to make adjustments as change comes.  In fact, the most effective people in any profession are those that do not resist change, but embrace it instead.

Another thing that I have learned is that technology has opened more opportunities  for collaboration between students and teachers.  Highly effective teachers that use technology will collaborate with colleagues from around the globe.  They can share ideas via message boards, Skype, or social networking.  The big word here is "SHARE".  Teachers need to share their ideas and the ways that they have found that technology makes learning more engaging and fun.  Students can collaborate on projects and lessons and this makes for a better learning environment for everyone.

Highly effective teachers that use technology are very thorough with how they plan their lessons and how they setup their classroom.  These teachers must think ahead and have a backup plan.  For example, if you have planned an amazing lesson that depends on a certain piece of technology that has worked all year without trouble and now all of a sudden won't work, you go to your backup plan and teach your students anyway because you are a professional.  Students crave instruction and whether or not you can deliver a particular lesson using the technology you planned to use does not change that fact.

Finally, just being present for a period of time in a public school will give you an opportunity to see many of these traits, the positive and negative ones, on a weekly basis.  The idea is for teachers to become more effective in doing their job by using technology as a tool to help them engage their students.  Have I mentioned engagement?  Student engagement is the whole point of all of this and technology is one of the best ways to help create that.  All of these characteristics are exhibited by highly effective teachers who use technology in the K-12 setting and in the higher education setting.

Jason Bennett
Instructional Design & Training Coordinator
Distance Education