The new teacher: tough and tech-savvy

| June 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

A new US survey may provide additional perspectives to the ‘teachers and technology’ debate. ‘Technology Use in the Classroom: A Study’ reveals that 50% of the more than 600 teachers interviewed by digiedu, a Chicago, Illinois company that partners with schools to integrate technology into classrooms, feel unsupported and uncertain about using technology in their lessons.

Resistant respondents are often put off by terms like ‘convergence’ and ‘blended learning’. But, said superintendent of schools in Middletown, New Jersey, Kenneth Eastwood, at the recent South by Southwest interactive conference held in Austin, Texas: “Teachers who use technology will replace those who don’t.” US schools may be saved by the approximately 200 000 teachers who entered the profession in 2007. The Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania (UP) has released data showing that in the 2011-12 school year, the ‘common experience level’ for teachers was five years, up from just one year in the 2007-08 school year.

This younger generation of educators is clearly a resilient bunch, as they’ve survived layoffs, budget cuts, school closures, downscaled pensions, diminished union bargaining rights, radical changes to teaching standards, stringent educator evaluations and controversial student testing techniques. Perhaps most importantly, this is a generation of teachers who aren’t afraid of technology. Celine Coggins, who heads Teach Plus, a non-profit American organisation focused on training teachers, says they can help veterans “learn an array of web-based skills and gain a level of comfort with data”.

Nevertheless, warn organisations like the National Education Association, the largest teacher union in the US, teachers under the age of 30 will only be on board if they are directly involved in creating and implementing the many proposed changes to the education system.

Category: e-Education, Winter 2014

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