In this guest post, Professor Charles McArthur of Bethany College in Pennsylvania looks at the newest teaching delivery method – online learning.
How To Abbreviate Masters Of Arts In Education Technology And Online Learning
Have you had an epiphany about education technology and how to use it?
Before you proceed on your assignment as an educator using technology, keep this in mind: there are a lot of permutations going on. Not all technologies can be converted into education, just because they are not perfect (e.g. web.com doesn’t go well with chalk and glue), not all learning tools have a place in the classroom, and some technology has its place for the teacher.
One of the conundrums of tech adoption in education is that educators face a perpetual question as to what technology is best to use. Choosing the right technology can be complicated and it’s this labyrinth that creates a lot of pain within the teaching world.
The answer is more nuanced than you may think. Here are a few tips you can follow to help you create an appropriate, unified and sustainable approach to technology and learning.
1. Don’t take your first tech off the shelf. For instance, when deciding about which to buy, ask yourself these questions:
• How it’s going to be used – In the classroom? In a laboratory? On the road?
• Where does it go? Do you use this to supplement instruction or by itself, and what kind of impact will it have on student progress?
• Is there someone, other than the teacher, who benefits from this technology?
2. Don’t skimp on the training. It is important that you educate yourself as much as possible about how this new technology works. All teachers should know how to configure, evaluate, and manage classroom use of this technology, as well as better understand how to leverage it for the classroom. Some of this learning is easy to do, like reading case studies and tips on best practices, and some of it is more complex, and you’ll want to work with teachers in your district for advice.
It’s also important to explain the different “tools” and explain how they help in specific teaching situations. For instance, the implementation of technology means more than just having access to technology in the classroom. For example, while some teachers might love the free email technology they have, they may not always feel comfortable with the way the technology works or with the fact that it will always be used as a form of communication. A teacher might feel more confident with Skype, as it is done almost entirely in-classroom, there’s less chance of them being interrupted, and the app itself is quite stable.
3. Collaborate with your teachers. Learning about technology and developing a sense of connection with others in your district will be crucial to your success. It’s important to ask your colleagues in the field of education, tech-minded professionals, and anyone else you may find to be doing anything relevant in the field. Get to know them, understand how they work, their interests, and how you can both benefit from each other.
4. Ensure you get support. Knowing the equipment you have available and the most effective way to use that equipment is important. There are a number of different and complex software packages and hardware to consider, so it’s important to seek the guidance of your district tech department, possibly going so far as to have a department meeting to discuss the best ways to work with the different platforms.
Once you’ve created a solid toolkit, get help from your tech department on common use scenarios. In particular, take into account what users in your district do and then ask your tech department to create two different scenarios and explain each one in detail to you. You can then look at the implications of each scenario and how it can be helpful to particular groups of users.
5. Know your school board and superintendent’s goals. A lot of IT expenditures are driven by the support of the school board or superintendent (depending on the state), and the main goals of district administrators often depend on the finances in their district.