Innovative educators enjoy using high quality digital programs to support learning where they work, but it does mean their role shifts. There are several changes in environments where technology is used to teach.
- Instruction is differentiated based on the pace of the learner rather than all students progressing at the predetermined pace of the class.
- Instant feedback and assessment.
- Discussions may be silent and not visible to an observer.
- Data dashboard provides an instant view into learning.
- There is screen rather than a teacher in front of the students.
- Questions a learner has can be answered instant by community members.
So when tech is doing the things teachers did, what do teachers do? Here are some ideas.
- Relationships: When technology provides the on demand lecture and feedback, teachers have more time to develop relationships with students. Students want to be seen, heard, and known. Technology enables teachers to better know their students for who they are as a whole as well as their talents, interests, and areas where they want to grow.
- Guidance: Young people need and want guidance. Teachers can spend more time guiding and supporting students.
- Tutoring: When whole class instruction can be done using technology, teachers are freed up to do small group and one-on-one tutoring.
- Digital Literacy: Teachers can play an important role in helping to support students in being responsible and respectful digital citizens.
- Learning Network Development: Connections are key and with technology we can help students safely make local and global connections. What if we found a mentor for every student that could support them digitally and/or face-to-face.
- Cheerleader: Students love knowing you know their accomplishments. More time to notice what students have accomplished. Discuss what that means and give them support.
What do you think? Are these some of the roles you have adopted as a part of your practice? What other roles have you taken on? What have you had success with? What has been a challenge? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.