I found “I’m Not Surprised that Older Teachers Experiment More with Technology” by Marsha Ratzel to be an intriguing post. Marsha highlights two main ideas in her post:
- The advantage of experience
- Veteran teachers face hurdles too
The advantage of experience
- “Without the advantage of lots of experience, newer teachers struggle with curriculum pacing, instructional and behavior management, and knowing how to keep a large number of students learning in a typical classroom space. Experienced teachers have these basics mastered and are ready to tackle the challenges of experimenting with all kinds of new instructional tools…including new technology.”
- “As teachers learn more about how students will react to the sequence of lessons — as we gain experience— it becomes s a natural extension to try out new ideas (including technology integration), both to make the tough things easier and to enrich learning in the places where students easily understand the basic lesson.”
- “Even so, the beginning years are hard, and the time and attention required to experiment with instruction — to learn and test new tools and strategies — may simply not be available as newbies concentrate on building their teaching-practice basics.”
I understand what Marsha is saying here because of a few experiences I had during internship:
- Prior to my internship experience starting, I had many ideas of how to use technology in the classroom and once internship actually started, I didn’t implement them like I thought I would. Me bringing technology into the classroom was through videos, music, presentations and some lessons that used a SmartBoard. Having been in ECMP 355, I have learned about so many more tools that would have been useful and I can see integrating into lessons as I move forward. So not knowing about a variety of tools to use in the classroom other than YouTube and PowerPoint and not experimenting with other tools available prior to internship impacted my experience. Also, the school did not have a lot of technology to use. Most classrooms had SmartBoards – the one I was in did not. The school had a new lab of computers installed over the summer but they weren’t available for the students until October. Teachers had laptops and it was hard to access the data projector as it was usually always used by another teacher who did not have a SmartBoard. Students weren’t allowed to bring their own devices to school and many Ipad’s and even Mac’s seemed like foreign devices to most. I don’t intend for this to be an excuse but it definitely made it harder to access technology.
- During my internship, there was an emphasis on lesson plans, classroom management, the curriculum and continuous assessment. These were things I was to focus on and that my co-operating teacher and I talked about constantly. Most of my time was spent focusing on these things and learning how a classroom functions. I was starting out with new lessons and I had no idea if they would work or not. I did not know if the students would be challenged, if it was too hard or to easy for them, and I spent time finding resources for these lessons and units. My time was definitely spent on teaching-practices and not technology.
Veteran teachers face hurdles too
- “The biggest hurdle for more experienced teachers is to realize that technology is just another instructional tool. Fundamentally, it’s no different than paper or pencils. Even so, many veteran teachers find the seemingly infinite variations that technology presents baffling.”
- “That is only problematic if the teacher thinks of each kind of technology as distinct and separate. Less digitally savvy teachers need professional learning opportunities that help them categorize digital tools (many of which now reside on the Web). “
- “One professional learning approach that can help both veteran and novice teachers make the shift from “using” to integratingtechnology is a close study of the TPACK model. Here teachers blend the content and pedagogy with the technological know-how. “
- I think it is important for all teachers to remember that technology is in fact an instructional tool and that it should be used within lessons and with other instructional tools as well and not separate. Technology can help bring many skills together and I think it can enhance lessons, projects and learning experiences.
- Are more experienced teachers or new teachers implementing technology in their classrooms and lessons?
- Do you agree with the statements and ideas Marsha has made?