8 February 2016
2 min read
Today's students are growing up on technology. From smartphones to smartwatches, personal technology pervades every aspect of life, online and offline.
The 21st-century teacher plays a crucial role in channeling children's interest in consumer tech into the development of critical skills for success in the modern world. Gone are the days when educational technology took place inside the boundaries of the school computer lab; today, forward-looking schools integrate educational technology into maths, sciences and humanities classes too.
Teachers can cater for diverse learning styles through digital educational resources such as the HP Classroom Manager, which supports virtual classroom environments including Blackboard, NearPod, and WizIQ. Here, students can collaborate with other students, access in-class notes in their own time, as well as get additional, individual help from teachers, who can in turn track progress and post assignments. Compatibility with all major operating systems ensures support for a variety of low-cost, high-performing desktop, laptop, and tablet devices as well as leading educational technology apps for classes from history to maths.
As a 21st-century teacher working with rapidly evolving tech, it's imperative to continue learning about new ways technology can aid in the classroom. Educational blogs are a great resource for lesson ideas as well as news about innovations in teaching. The influential @TeacherToolkit offers the popular #5Min series of lesson plans and assessment ideas, while EmergingEd Tech focuses on how teachers can engagingly integrate technology in the classroom, from how to create interactive content, to the best movie-making apps for students.
Connecting with other teachers also means tapping into a global font of expertise and inspiration. TES is a teachers' network with a jobs board, forums and an on-site search engine to trawl for shared educational resources from lesson plans to assembly ideas. Or, to directly (but digitally) pick another teacher's brain, Teachers Pay Teachers works like an educational eBay - teachers can buy, sell and share lesson plans and other classroom resources in an open marketplace. As of now, 1.8 million resources are available, with US$175 million collectively earned by its members.
The 21st century classroom is all about teachers and students, just as it's always been. Access to classroom technology is a benefit to today's educator, but only so long as it is used as a means to the ends of learning, and not seen as an end unto itself. Academic tasks such as fact-finding and research may be greatly simplified thanks to search engines and the vast resources freely available online, but the onus lies on teachers to guide students through critical analysis and how to use the information in a meaningful way.
As technology becomes increasingly embedded in our world, it's not enough simply to know which buttons to press and screens to swipe. The workers and leaders of tomorrow will be tasked with figuring out how to do something with all of this ever more powerful technology.
Becoming a 21st century teacher means balancing the world of opportunity that technology affords with the power of in-person classroom learning. The experience of engaged students learning from a master teacher is second to none. Artful use of technology in the classroom can enhance that experience by making tech work for the classroom, without taking over the classroom.
Discover more at HP Education.