The use of technology in classrooms has been steadily increasing for years, with 65% of teachers now saying they use digital learning tools to teach every day. And while this figure is as high as it’s ever been, it is likely only going to continue to grow as we move from one schoolyear to the next.
When you analyze the impact technology has on teaching and on student outcomes, it’s easy to understand why most educators are in favor. In fact, 77% of teachers strongly agree or agree that using digital learning tools helps teachers’ effectiveness.
Still, there are many teachers and administrators that are perhaps somewhat reluctant to adopt technology in the classroom to such a high degree. Only 53% of teachers fully support the increased use of digital learning tools.
It’s clear that the primary reasons for this reluctance may vary. As far as professional development goes, 56% of teachers cite a lack of training as a significant reason for not choosing to use digital learning tools, while 46% cite a lack of knowledge as to which digital learning tools to use to begin with.
In assessing their technology needs, schools must also assess their ability to integrate technology into the learning process. Are professional development programs in place to help teachers successfully leverage their devices to benefit both teaching and learning?
Too often, schools acquire an abundance of technology without ever investing in the development of how to use it to achieve educational outcomes. This lack of access to adequate training or to onsite support and troubleshooting is a significant issue schools must move to correct.
The importance of professional development
There are many factors that go into a high-quality education, from the culture of the school and parental involvement to the technology provided and beyond. But more important than any of these is the effectiveness of educators themselves.
“In the absence of any or all of these other factors, a skillful and resourceful educator can still overcome obstacles to lead a student to achievement,” says Josh Ratliff, Director of Education Initiatives for Trafera. “On the other hand, all the school culture and technology in the world will never be able to make up for the absence of a skilled teacher to produce an atmosphere of excellence.”
Consider John Hattie’s research on effect size – a system used to measure the importance of more than 100 influences on student outcomes. Far and away the most influential factor on learning outcomes is collective teacher efficacy. The bottom line is that educators are always going to be the most important factor in a high-quality education – and they must be invested in as such.
Getting teacher buy-in
Providing opportunities for professional development is an important first step, but it is also critical to foster teacher buy-in toward the importance of technology and its role in modern education. And one of the best ways to do this is to focus on technology’s impact on student outcomes.
As the below table from a 2020 Gallup study denotes, students of every grade level not only feel digital learning tools are fun and that they make school more interesting, but that they also help them learn things on their own and at their own pace.
Technology can only improve learning experiences when we make people our number one investment. Providing a future-ready education requires more than just access to powerful technology tools. Educators must be empowered with the skills they need to create an instructional shift using these tools.
Teacher training for educational technology should seek to address:
- Encouragement and enablement of a meaningful and sustainable change in teaching and learning
- Best practices for digital learning
- Use of the SAMR Model to assess the value of technology in a given learning experience
- Use of the ISTE Standards for Students
- Support of the “6 Cs” by educational technologies: content creation, creativity, communication, collaboration, community building, and choices of conduct (Positive Technological Development (PTD) framework)
- Facilitation of differentiated instruction
Ways to provide teacher training
Trafera has partnered with Eduscape to provide award-winning professional learning to the schools we work with. With Eduscape, we provide both onsite professional development (either topic-of-choice or custom sessions) and asynchronous online development through MyEduscape.
Eduscape was designed by educators for educators to help teachers:
- Prepare for an increasingly digital education landscape
- Teach confidently using modern tools
- Leverage classroom tech to create amazing learning experiences
Through professional learning, educators are able to adopt new technologies and to learn how to use them confidently and comfortably throughout their curriculum.
MyEduscape is a learner-centered platform that contains over 300 hours of on-demand professional development content that leads to continuing education hours and micro-credentials. There are over 35 learning paths where you can join with like-minded educators from across the country to boost your skills, network, and knowledge.
Google Learning Paths
Google Learning Paths give teachers the opportunity to take productivity with Google the extra mile, with the option to choose between Getting Started with Google, Google for Tech-Enhanced Classrooms, and Google for Productivity to continue your path to the optimal classroom.
Google for Education Teacher Center
The Google for Education Teacher Center is another great (and free) resource that provides introductory training on all of the core Google Workspace for Education apps. Whether you’re a new or advanced learner, the Teacher Center can help better equip you to lead distance learning, leverage Chromebooks in the classroom, and more.
Transform learning experiences with Trafera
At Trafera, we believe technology can only improve learning experiences when we make people our number one investment. We partner with the industry’s most trusted brands to provide students and educators with the tools and the technology they need to transform the learning experience in 2021 and beyond.
With Trafera on your team, we’ll work together to navigate the complexities of today’s learning environment in a supportive and empowering way. Contact us today to learn more about providing your students with a more engaged and a more connected experience this school year and beyond.