We all know at least one person who refuses to be drawn to technology. ‘It’s too difficult’, ‘I’m too old’, ‘It’s not for me’….the excuses are vast and reasoning fairly simple to understand for technology is at once scary and exciting. For a multitude of people who have not yet experienced the draw of technology, even if they do have to use a computer, they simply do not ‘see’ beyond their own experiences.
Much of the same is true of Teaching with Technology. With the core of many teachers having been trained at a time when computer technology was simply limited to individual software functionalities (word processing, spreadsheets) and cloud computing but a distant dream, it is not difficult to see how and why some people are simply adamant against embracing technology in teaching.
In an effort to distill some of these limiting thoughts into simpler points and hopefully to follow through with a convincing case for the use of technology. Here we write about some common misconceptions of teaching with technology, and if you have more thoughts, opinions even advice to add, please do tell us in the comments below.
Misconception 1: It’s about the Technology
The vast array of available technology these days, from laptops to ultrabooks, tablets and now hybrids too, seem to offer ‘too much of a good thing’. This in some ways makes things difficult for a newcomer to teaching with technology, especially when conflicting advice is shared from the perspective of different experiences being ‘right’ for different users.
Many people will have their own favourite device, or technology, some may be geared towards specific platforms (PC or Mac, Android or Apple) or even brands. Ultimately though, it is important to remember that regardless of how information technology is accessed, the fact that it IS accessible is key.
The point I’m trying to make here, is that it’s not about the technology, but about the information that the technology makes accessible.
Traditionally, both cost and technology-type limitations meant that the technology used in schools were typically a ‘one size fits all’ perception where each teacher and student would have access to the same technology. These rules no longer need apply, particularly as information is as easily accessible through a smart phone as it is through a tablet or a desktop computer.
Schools and many teachers who have realised this now, understand how Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) can contribute in the classroom, regardless of the difference in technology.
Misconception 2: I need to be a tech expert
It is not difficult to understand the security that comes with being an ‘expert’ particularly with the varying degrees with which technology in a classroom could potentially go wrong (haven’t we all been there?)
The truth is though, no single person can nowadays claim to be an expert in all things technology, given the vast array we have on offer. While it helps to have a working knowledge of things, it should not put off a beginner of technology (techie newbie) should he or she not be able to answer technical questions.
The perception should be that the information is ‘out there’ if and when we need it. The confidence to just try, regardless of how much or how little we know, brightens the pathway to teaching with technology.
That’s not to say that things will never go wrong, but the willingness to try is half the battle-won, plus the support of a great tech team does wonders!
When all else fails, ask the kids, or better still ask the kids to ‘Google it’!
Misconception 3: Technology is only for certain subjects
It’s easy to see where this misconception comes from, after all it really wasn’t that long ago when there was no need for computers bar programmers and geeks. The misconception that there are subjects that will not benefit from technology could not be further from the truth.
Every single area of learning, for better or worse, has had some of it’s heart touched by the magic wand of technology, from English Literature, to Maths (or Math for our American readers), History, Geography, Science, everything and anything will turn up a search result in Google.
No longer is technology limited to solely for computer programming.
Misconception 4: It takes a LOT of time to prepare for a lesson using technology
In many ways, this is not a misconception, there is some truth is the time it takes starting out on teaching with technology.
However, like all habits and experiences, as it becomes more and more familiar, it also becomes quicker and easier, regardless of the technology, whether it’s in the preparation or any other aspect of using technology.
The first step is always the hardest, but it does get easier.
Moving beyond these self-limiting and self imposed beliefs about the difficulty in getting to grips on Teaching with Technology, here are some slightly different perceptions.
Embracing and engaging
Technology is in many ways all encompassing, it offers many methods and approaches to do what has traditionally be very limited. It is altogether embracing and engaging and even more so for the learners of the current age, who grow up with screens seemingly tethered to an appendage.
As much as there are challenges and downsides to using technology in teaching, the ease with which children, and young learners embrace and own technology make it all the more compelling to be used as a tool, for which they are able to gain knowledge from.
The world is your oyster
The vast plethora of information available on the internet only serves to provide options to the lessons that we teach. To help us consider different ways of finding solutions or offering thoughts and differing perspectives.
To add to that the amazing capabilities of technology nowadays allow communication with citizens of different time zones and half a world away at the simple click of a button. The opportunities that these technologies offer, open up a whole new world of possibilities and takes learning to yet another level.
Challenge but also excite you of the possibilities
Most importantly, being able to tap in to teaching with technology offers not only different ways of looking at things or opportunities to connect with people the world over.
Teaching with technology should for all its intents and purposes challenge the way you teach and the way you perceive your students learn and at the same time it can and should excite you of the infinite possibilities that lie ahead in our journey of learning.
Share your story
We hope that perhaps some of these thoughts have inspired you to try some new things, or may be they have reminded you of a time when you too felt similar misgivings about using technology. We would love to hear your story and perhaps you can help someone else along the way.
Author: L Ooi
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