Technology skills are required in the education industry – not optional!
According to Business Insider, “New technologies like AI, machine learning, and educational software aren’t just changing the field for students, they’re shaking up the role of educators, creating philosophical shifts in approaches to teaching, and remodeling the classroom.” As an educator, I can tell you that this is true! Educators must change with the times. In order to make this change there are several necessary technology skills that every educator must have in order to survive in today’s industry. As an industry, education is far behind the times. Which I find highly ironic, especially consider it is the industry preparing the future employees for every other industry. We need to meet our students where they already are and add value to their learning as it applies to today’s world.
Technology skills make an educator’s life easier.
An article from trade-schools.net discusses the powerful technology movement that is sweeping through schools nationwide. “After all, today’s students have grown up with digital technology and expect it to be part of their learning experience. Proponents point out that educational technology offers the potential to engage students in more active learning, as evidenced in flipped classrooms. It can facilitate group collaboration and provide instant access to up-to-date resources. Teachers and instructors can integrate online surveys, interactive case studies, and relevant videos in order to offer content tailored to different learning styles. Indeed, students with special needs frequently rely on assistive technology to help them communicate and meaningfully access course materials.” These benefits are very real and the article is very true.
Teachers are often the toughest to convince when it comes to implementing new technology skills.
The problem in most schools is getting the educators and even the leaders on board. In this article I will address the basic technology skills that you and your school need to embrace, if you haven’t already done so.
Patience, curiosity, humor, and the drive to keep learning….
Those traits are what come to mind when I start to consider tech skills that every educator needs. You might think that these really aren’t tech skills and quite honestly, they aren’t. However, everyone (especially educators) need these skills in order to make technology work for them in their classrooms.
Patience – I really don’t think this one needs an explanation but I will humor you. How many times has the Internet stopped working right in the middle of a lesson? How many times have you had to re-calibrate that “smart” board of yours, in the middle of your lesson? Just two examples of why every educator needs patience when trying to integrate technology.
Curiosity – what will happen if I try this with my class? The big one is humor! I could tell you stories of technology flops and successes that would have you laughing till your sides hurt.
Lastly, the drive to keep learning. Everyone needs this, especially educators. The world of technology is constantly changing and we owe it to our students to continue our learning in order to provide them with up to date tools and ideas! With these traits it is easy to focus on the top 10 technology skills that will allow us to be the most innovative educators we can be!
Teachers must also be learners!
In the process of researching for this article, I have posed the question to fellow educators and read other articles on the topic. One of my favorite responses (again, my sense of humor pays off) was from a teacher I worked with my first 4 years of teaching. G Suite for education wasn’t even a thing yet so that should tell you where we stood with technology and how far back I’m referencing! I asked my friend, what do you think are the 10 most important tech skills an educator needs.
Her response, “That’s an article that I need to READ, not one I should contribute to!”
Old and new teachers alike struggle with making technology work for them.
It’s hard enough to plan your lessons and control your students. Now “they” want you to add more to your class – how?! In my research for this article, I found that there is a common ground of what people believe are the essential tech skills. What I find interesting is that these skills aren’t necessarily “tech” skills.
Educators need skills that allow them to expand their knowledge of technology applications and uses in the classroom. However, the skills that I came across in my research were split up but really fall under one umbrella and that’s the umbrella of LEARNING!!! SHOCKER!
In order for any new technology skills to be successful, one must be willing to never stop learning!
As an educator that is trying to incorporate technology into your lessons, you HAVE to be willing to never stop learning!
I cannot honestly tell you that there are a definite 10 technology skills that are necessary because the one basic skill you need is the willingness to learn. However, I’m going to point out 10 things and then bring them all together.
- Internet Searching
- Hardware Basics
- Productivity Applications
- Collaborating Technology Skills
- Video Conferencing and Social Messaging
- Digital Citizenship
- Smart board & Active Panel Technology Skills
- Managing Electronic Communication (Email)
- Terminology for Technology Skills
- Social Media Education Technology Use
YOU’VE GOT THIS!!
Every educator has this “bag” and inside their bag are their “tools.” These “skills” are just additional tools to put in your big ol’ bag of stuff. Just like a bag, you pull things out when you need them.
Internet Searching/Research Skills
One of my least favorite things to hear is someone say, “Just Google it!” I’m the first to say Google’s got it going on. A little frightening but they very well could be planning a world take over but I’m telling you, they’ve got it going on! However, if you tell a student to Google something you are not teaching them anything. It’s the same as saying, “I have one hundred and one dollars.” It’s just incorrect – when saying numbers, the and is said when there is a decimal in the number!
While Google does have a search engine; so does Yahoo!, Bing, Ask and many more. So, as an educator please choose your words wisely. Teach your students how to do Internet searches and share with them the many ways to do those searches (using Internet search engines such as Google!). It is important to teach your students how to ask the Internet what they wish to search for, too.