Welcome to the RM Blog. The purpose of this blog is to create a forum for an active conversation among graduate students, educators, researchers and anyone else involved in language, literacy and technology education. It is hoped that individuals who have an interest in these subjects will engage with each other to further contribute to these areas of discussion and offer personal and professional insights.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Should technology training be mandatory for teachers?

Most teachers believe that computers are beneficial in the classroom in terms of improving academic performance, motivation, and interest. Many also see the value in training. Surveys have consistently shown that there is a strong correlation between the number of hours of computer training teachers have had and their views on the benefits of computers. Our institution provides numerous opportunities to participate in various training sessions. However, should such training be mandatory? What should such training involve? Personally, I think as teachers we should be required to have a minimum set of skills and then be required to participate in additional workshops at least once or twice a year. My main reason for saying that is because while some of us do implement technology to teach skills or strengthen the presentation of a lesson, I question if we are using it to its full potential. I would like to know how to use it effectively when teaching a specific type of skill or lesson – not just in the form of a standard web page, PowerPoint presentation, word processing, or the available interactive exercises on the web. Don’t get me wrong. There is great value in the above. Some very good quality materials are available or are created by innovative teachers. However, I strongly support mandatory training in this area as part of our professional development. I’m all for training but the right kind of training. If you’ve participated in helpful workshops or have ideas for incorporating technology beyond these means for facilitating language development or literacy, let us know.


Blogger susan said...

I also am a teacher and feel that we are not given enough professional training in the area of how to most effectively integrate technology into our teaching. We have laptops for our students and soon we will have smartboards. We recently received a LCD projector and only received an hour of training. For the younger teachers who have grown up with technology, this may be enough training. However, for the older teachers ( and we make up the biggest %) we need more training to ensure that we will get on board. I would love to integrate technology more into my daily classroom instruction, but there is only so much time I can devote to planning and preparation. I already spend most of my free time involved in something to do with teaching.Maybe free summer workshops???


4:55 PM

Blogger Dr. Ibrahim Darwish said...

I cannot doubt the benefits of using computers in the classroom. However, sometimes, I feel that those benefits are exaggerated. Perhaps, my feelings stem from the fact that I am not well-trained in using the computers in the classroom. Therefore, I strongly believe that teachers should, at least, attend a training session every semester. However, training sessions should be highly specialised and should deliver what their titles prmise. For instance, a month ago, I attended a one-day workshop in one of the universities in SA.The title of the workshop was "Using New Methods of Teaching". The main idea of the workshop was "Avoid lecturing and make use of the computer in the classroom". The sad thing was that most of the speakers in the workshop didn't avoid lecturing and didn't make use of the computer!

2:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think in this day and age we owe it to our students to use all and every means to make the learning experience more accessible for them. IWB's, computers etc all bring the learning experience more in line with student expectations. Modern technology also has the means of facilitating a number of different learning styles.
So in answer to the question, absolutely!

9:06 AM

Anonymous Terrance said...

Receiving training on technology integration is no different than receiving training on how to teach. It requires time and commitment on the part of teachers and administrators. Most teachers don't have any extra time to take on this long-term training unless they receive release time. As a technology integration specialist at my school here in the U.S., the biggest challenge is formulating a plan whereby technology enhances what's already being taught and learned. We have all the hardware- computer labs, laptop cart, SmartBoards- what we're working on now is an overall integration plan. That plan requires the input of the teachers, as they are the experts in their respective fields and can judge which aspects of technology integration mesh with their teaching style.

6:18 AM

Blogger Tk said...

I'm a technologist by profession and outlook, but I'm of the opinion that technology learning in the classroom needs to incorporate both learning and unlearning. As Susan ^^^ illustrated, tech training should be mandatory because an instructor needs to know how to operate the machinery so that s/he can move past the owner's manual into teaching. The instructor needs to be a power user on the machinery so s/he can show students the limitations of the technology, or at least to try to avoid them. The instructory needs to know how to manipulate the technology so s/he can simultaneously teach the subject at hand and the proper use of technology in learning.

Beyond that, however, schools need to include training in their technology implementation planning. Installing tech in a school and not training the instructor ensures that the A/V department or the students themselves have a leg up on the instructor.

Moreover, schools should include instructor voices in technology planning and training. What works reliably? What fails reliably? What takes more time to learn than is warranted by the benefits of the particular technology? How often can new technology be introduced without overwhelming instructors and students?

Finally, Dr. Darwish's ^^ point is well taken, and I concur. Poorly executed training is going to result in poorly used technology. Buying fancy ice skates won't make you a good skater -- only practice and coaching will.

7:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an English language teacher in Thailand. I do agree that teachers do not have enough training on the integration of ICT into language training, and the training they receive is just about basic computer skills, which is what they have already known but which they don't know how to combine with the implementation of ICT in language teaching. I'm doing my PhD research on training Thai teachers to use CALL in language teaching.I find that most teachers still had wrong ideas about how to use computers in language teaching. They thought that what they need was just basic computer skills. However, after the training course I ran for them they now know that the computer skills are just 'the tools' and that what is more important is the pedagogical issues--that is--when and how to integrate computer into their lesson, why computer must be used at that stage of the lesson. Besides, self-confidence and self-efficacy is also what teachers need.

9:46 PM

Blogger angel said...

I am a research assistant working in this area and planning to do my doctrate also in this area. I have conducted a minoi research with the teacher trainees using technology in classroom. It has reveled that trainif the teachers to use technology is essential.Those students are trained in ICT class in their regular course. But that training didnt help them in integrating technology in clasroom. Now i am in the process for preparing a training package for indian teachers.If any guidelines can be given by experts i am waiting to analyse it

10:25 PM


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