The Young Teacher’s Guide To Using Technology In The Class Room : You, as an inexperienced teacher, should begin with simple technology, slowly. You need to adopt the ‘KISS’ principle, i.e. ‘Keep it simple, stupid.’ Keep away from the ‘complicated teaching aids’ that the more advanced technology represents.
That said, it is important to realise that no form of technology is the ‘be all and end all’ for a teacher. A teacher needs to be flexible and gain experience in all forms of technology to add interest and real life data as well as efficiency to their teaching.
Some teachers make the mistake of believing that technology replaces the humble chalk/white board. No technology can replace them totally because they are quick and easy to use and can be very effective in the hands of an experienced teacher.
As you begin your career, use only one form of technology at a time, apart from the chalk or white boards. Plan carefully what you need to do. Practice beforehand. Make sure you have all the parts you need to make the technology work, e.g. a remote control. Check that it works and the batteries are fresh.
Here are a number of guidelines to be aware of before you begin to use any form of technology in your class room.
1. Always test your equipment/technology first to ensure that it works.
2. Practice its use before the lesson.
3. Remember: You must still do the teaching. Technology does not teach. It simply assists the process of teaching/learning.
4. Make sure all students gain equal access to whatever technology you use.
5. Ensure that all students who need to use the technology can use it effectively and as efficiently as possible.
6. If you use technology as a medium in your assessment, make sure the success in the task is not dependent on the students’ expertise in using the technology.
7. Before you use any technology as part of your assessment task, make sure all students have practiced and perfected the technological skills they need to succeed in the task, given that they know the appropriate learning work.
8. Develop an expertise in using all available technology in your class room. This will give you opportunities to use a greater variety of teaching strategies/pedagogues.
9. Always plan a back-up strategy if the technology fails, i.e. Have spare devices or an alternative teaching strategy.
10. Where you have competent students with technology skills, use them to assist you as demonstrators or as mentors for their fellow students.
11. When seeking to acquire new technology, be sure to investigate the real cost including the ‘behind the scenes’ costs such as servicing, as well as the benefits to your students. Ask yourself this question: “Does it offer a better teaching result than the other already available strategies and old technology?” before you spend the money.
One last point:
Remember the technology cannot do your teaching for you. In the end, the technology, even with the powerful interactive computer software now available, will need your input somewhere for it to be truly effective for your students.