In 1996, the U.S. Department of Education issued its first-ever educational technology plan, calling on educators to prepare students for the 21st century by integrating technology into teaching and learning.
At the time, few educators could have imagined the degree to which technology would affect our lives and the education community in such a short amount of time. Though technology use has grown rapidly, many of the original recommendations from the 1996 report are still relevant for today’s educators, particularly the first goal to ensure that “all teachers in the nation will have the training and support necessary to help students learn to use computers and the information superhighway.”
Resources for educators
Today educators can easily replace computers and theinformation superhighway” with a number of ever-changing devices and digital information access points, but what doesn’t change is the need to effectively train and support teachers who use and teach with technology in the classroom. We’ve heard the oft-repeated myth that educators aren’t tech savvy or are too obstinate to learn and adapt. But after more than two decades in education, my experience is that teachers are eager and willing to learn; they just need the time and space to plan and coordinate.
As supporters of strong education, we also need to support education leaders as they implement tried-and-true pedagogical constructs when it comes to their own learning. We have instructional frameworks that help students move toward independence, guiding them to master skills and grow in their understanding. Educators are no different. Like students, they need to see someone model a new practice or technology, then they need to practice with support and eventually work toward doing it on their own. Renowned educators Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey break this down into four components that are easily remembered as “I do it,” “we do it,” “you do it together,” and, finally, “you do it alone.”
What we know about adult learning is that the fundamentals are the same as the learning that happens in our classrooms. Education leaders can no longer afford to delay investing in training and support systems that will set educators and students up for success.