Some teachers require technology training

Posted on Monday, 4/22/2013 5:20 pm

The number of teachers who recognize the benefits of using technology for educational purposes is on the rise. Educators who once relied solely on worksheets, blackboards and overhead projectors now embrace software for students, interactive whiteboards and tablet computers, among other forms of technology. 

However, in some cases, a sudden shift to technological teaching calls for additional training for instructors. After all, not every educator is as comfortable using tablet computers and smartphones as their students.

Some training required
It seems like every other day that a different school district is making a commitment to putting a technological twist on the instruction they deliver to students. For example, in Montana, the Education Foundation of the Billings Public Schools recently awarded grants to 115 classes to help teachers purchase and integrate new technology into their lessons, KTVQ reported.

Bob Baumann, a teacher at Castle Rock Middle School, is among the educators who, while grateful for the grant, know it will take him a little while to become familiar with the technology he will be using.

"I need to learn how to use it more," Baumann told the news source, in reference to the technology he will be using. "Because I'm kind of an old dog trying to learn new tricks. And [students] know far more than I do about [technology], but if I figure out something that they're familiar with to help me, that's great."

School district makes technology training a priority
In Ohio's Hamilton City School District, teachers will have to become more comfortable with technology, as students will be taking online assessments in the near future, the Hamilton JournalNews reported. To ensure that educators are ready for the changes that lie ahead, the school system plans to appoint two teachers as full-time technology instructional coaches.

This move comes as Rex Bucheit, the district's technology integration coordinator, is set to retire on June 1 of this year. While the two teachers hired will take on some of Bucheit's responsibilities, there will also be new elements to the technology instructional coach positions as well, according to Zach Vander Veen, the district's director of technology.

"We're changing the role to be more of a coaching position," Vander Veen told the news outlet. "Being able to work with colleagues well; people can get frustrated at technology easily and we need someone to diffuse that."

Vander Veen said that whoever assumes these roles must be a certified teacher with three years of classroom experience, as well as an advanced degree. He hopes to have two individuals in these positions before the academic year comes to a close.

Ultimately, the activity at both the Hamilton City School District and the Billings Public Schools just goes to show how important teachers' level of comfort with technology is. Schools can have access to the latest student software, but if instructors are not comfortable using it, it may prove to be less effective than it should be.

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