As we move into this new decade, more and more teachers are beginning to utilize technology as a central instructional tool. That’s a good thing. But to make sure effective technology use becomes standard practice, there is much to do.
A good start would be to provide training for teachers in how to access core curriculum resources such as online teacher’s editions, student texts, and supporting activities. At the same time, students should be trained in how to access and use adopted online materials. Students need a chance to take more control of their own learning.
Let me offer an example. My district uses a math program with extensive online resources that include interactive videos and animation capabilities. Teachers can create activities that use these tools and assign them to students for homework or site computer labs. Yet well into the second year of this adoption, we’ve yet to provide our teachers with any specific training on how to use these valuable tools.
That is a tragedy. Given the fact students are online all the time, we are missing a great opportunity. If we provided access and some guidance, I believe students would take timeout from Facebook and Twitter to complete online homework assignments. The fact that publishers such as Pearson, Holt, and Harcourt have invested to provide these resources shows that they get where kids are these days. I hope all of us who work in schools will soon do the same.