Teachers Changing the Way We Read, Write, Think, and Live
Why does the learning stop?
Q: Teachers never have to learn again after they receive their certification and Master’s degree. True or false?
A: False: Teachers need to redefine their concept of learning to include not only their students, but themselves as well.
Richardson believes that teachers are in dire need of remembering that they too are learners. Elsewhere, he refers to teachers as “master learners” who are able to, in fact, model the process of learning. As a member of the community, one would hope that all teachers succeed in modeling learning, or are effectively teaching a particular content area. In this increasingly digitalized world however, Richardson worries that teachers are refusing to learn about technology. Lack of familiarity and confidence with Web 2.0 applications, are the primary reasons teachers avoid combining technology in the classroom. They are afraid of being embarrassed by showing a deficiency of knowledge. In today’s world however, knowledge can be retrieved almost instantaneously. Therefore, educators should not worry about what they don’t know, and focus on what they do know. All educators were and have been learners throughout their lives. Most teachers have vast experience in learning in the high school and collegiate settings. This skill is transferable. Therefore, teachers should transfer it to their own experiences with technology and model those interactions for students. He wants teachers to “examine how these technologies challenge their own personal learning.” This strikes me as an effective way for teachers to evaluate their skills and strategies as learners. By understanding how they learn and what pitfalls, traps or obstacles they encountered, teachers are better able to prepare for lessons utilizing technology.
Administrators cannot skip ahead in the digital integration process and “throw” digital technologies at their teachers in order to help their teachers utilize these resources in the classroom. Rather, Richardson argues that administrators should learn about technology so that they are prepared and able to teach their instructors how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. I liken this to grabbing a tool at random out of a shed and then proceeding to teach a group of adolescents how to use said tool, when you have absolutely no idea as to the function or purpose of this tool. To teach something, a person must have intimate knowledge of the subject and process at hand. Therefore, administrators and teachers need to CONTINUE LEARNING so that they are adequately prepared to teach, and therefore reach, students.
Don’t use it just to check off the tech requirement of the Standards. Use it to augment the overall learning process. Teachers need to determine how they can effectively integrate technology into a lesson plan with specific learning goals. The technology or Web 2.0 application utilized by a teacher should help students construct meaning or develop a deeper understanding of the learning goal at hand. For instance, if a teacher is facilitating a unit on digital media literacy, they should require students to utilize technology to construct responses as it adds further meaning to their text by including multiple modes of communication. If students are unfamiliar with the technology in question, the teacher can model their own learning strategies and dealings with that particular application. Thus, teachers make it apparent to students that they too are constantly learning and making new connections and meanings utilizing technology. That way, teachers turn away from their roots of “master of the classroom universe” and instead provide students with practical model of the learning process while adding depth and complexity to the lesson.