Early Perceptions of Teaching With Technology
Teachers often fear the technological gap between themselves and their students. After all, their students were born into a world filled with digital technologies. Teachers, on the other hand, grew up with analog technologies and had to adapt as the digital took over. As author Marc Prensky puts it, “young people live in the context; the older people see the changing context and struggle.” He believes students tend to take the lead when using technology in the classroom.
The Changing View
Some researchers are challenging this view of teaching with technology. In a study done by the New York Institute of Technology, researchers found that teachers “depended much more on using technology to solve daily problems, to improve productivity, and as learning aids.” Students tend only to use technology for entertainment.
Since students’ focus is on entertainment, they often lack the skills necessary to solve problems or become more productive. Teachers must instruct students on how to use technology in the classroom beyond the common research and writing assignments. However, the New York Institute of Technology warns that students’ use of technology in the classroom is not tied to a teacher’s age or technological skill. Instead, teaching with technology must focus on the teaching first and the technology second.
Teachers’ Role in Use of Technology in the Classroom
According to the lead researcher, students “need guidance to learn how to use these technologies to solve sophisticated thinking problems.” Given that students will spend most of their time using technology for entertainment, it is up to the teachers to show them how to use technology in the classroom.
The common perception is that students organically learn to use digital technologies, but research shows this view as limited. Students are skilled at using technology for entertainment or communication, but higher-order skills do not come naturally to them. Rather than defer to students when using technology in the classroom, many current Master of Education programs train teachers how to teach with technology.
Learn more about the Lamar University online M.Ed. in Digital Learning and Leading program.