With the introduction of technological advancements in the field of education, such as interactive smart boards, e-learning resources and interactive tabs, etc. it is important to note that providing just the technology, without human touch, is redundant. While it is true that children can learn on their own to a certain extent, this same learning process still has to be monitored in order to provide adequate guidance. Most schools begin a teacher training program before they start implementing a digital learning experience into the curriculum. The main reason for this is to help the teacher understand the technology fully before the children get a hold of it. What can be discovered, explored and restricted is very essential knowledge for the teacher to have.
Apart from precautionary reasons, a tech savvy teacher can make the learning experience more fun than it normally would be. While audio visual resources and games are becoming something normal for children, additional creative resources are constantly on the rise. These resources can be used to take things up a notch.
So how does teacher training work? Mainly, it helps them critically engage with key theories, principles, concepts and issues involved in the digital learning process. It helps to develop and effective and reflective practice of using the technology. Teacher training helps the teacher understand the potential and use of digital technology.
Another aspect of teacher training is that it helps the teacher in experimentation and innovation in their own context. They can enhance the syllabus on their own terms to suit the needs of their students. A well trained teacher can easily demonstrate professional development.
There is so much a teacher can learn about digital teaching. Here are a few mentions of what one might be taught in teacher training:
- To adapt to connected learning: This type of learning enables children to learn through their own interests. For instance, a child might be asked to present a project based on their favorite new toy or video game. A child who is good at art could be asked to design posters for the classroom.
- Sharing content online: Teachers are taught to upload videos to private channels that can be accessed by parents and students. They are taught to use Google Docs for collaborative projects and they are also taught to post homework online, perhaps on a website or on a platform that uses internal software used by the school.
- The importance of Twitter: When there are teenagers in a classroom, twitters can really be a hit with the crowd. They love hash tags and online participation. They can explore political or scientific data and follow people who are relevant to a topic.
- Video conferencing: Teachers may need to connect with colleagues or advisors who are far away. This will require the basic knowledge of videoconferencing, such as using Skype. Children can also share their experiences or clear their queries even from a distance. This is especially useful during the time of examinations when a teacher can provide support and guidance right from the comfort of their home. A lot of safety instructions are also provided to the staff about video conferencing to mutually protect both student and teacher.
- Blogging: Everyone loves blogs! So it is only fair that each classroom or subject have its own blogs and updates. Students should be able to comment their queries on particular topics and have healthy debates online.
- The element of fun: Teaching can no longer be boring. It has to entertain and it has to reach its audience. A teacher could get as creative as possible. A class reading could be recorded and broadcasted as a podcast. A field trip or a science class could use Pinterest to store images and other information for class projects. Summer vacations of students can be tracked by each other by marking each other’s location when on family trips through interactive maps.
When a teacher is trained properly, everything can be a fun learning experience. Hence, teacher training with interactive solutions should definitely be the number one consideration for any institutions that is planning to invest in digital.