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Digital literacy, virtual reality, cloud computing, makerspaces, virtual literacy, and gamification are some prime areas that educators need professional training on.
FREMONT, CA: In the present day, if one wants to become a competent educator, then it is required for them to incorporate technology in their classroom or the entire school or district altogether. So, to facilitate the teaching and learning process, how do teachers and education administrators learn how to use technology? Teachers learn most of the aspects through education leadership programs, trial and error methods, and through professional development.
One significant barrier when it comes to incorporating new tools is that K–12 teachers are interested in adopting technology, but low on confidence. The reliance is more on their aptitudes to use the tools well enough to make the integration worth the investment. Furthermore, technology cannot be efficient in the classroom without educators being well-informed about both the tools and its implementation to meet educational goals.
Below are a few areas in which professional development is required for teachers and education administrators.
By definition, digital literacy encompasses a wide range of skills, which are necessary to succeed in a continuously progressing digital world. As print mediums seem to die out, one must have the ability to comprehend the data found online. Students with no digital literacy skills may find themselves at a disadvantage as those who cannot write or read. So, educators need to educate students on digital skills in the classroom. Additionally, teachers also need to have professional development to carry out the instruction on an optimal level.
Virtual Reality refers to a computer-simulated environment—the simulation can be of the imaginary or real world. What appears in mind when one hears “virtual reality” is people wearing headgears that will transport them to another location. Additionally, one gets to experience the simulation form the comfort of their homes or classroom when it comes to students. Besides, school organizations have already started implementing the technology in the classrooms to give a virtual experience to pupils. While the potential benefits of virtual reality in the school rooms are endless, most teachers do not know how to use the tool. To harness the prospective learning benefits, educators require guidance and support, and the instance is where technology training steps in.
When it comes to better learning collaboration, cloud computing has boundless potential. The aspect is also true for teacher-to-student, teacher-to-teacher, and teacher-to-parent applications. By making use of standard location, educational expectations can be better accessed, along with actual pupil work. Teachers can also share learning experiences and materials through remote opportunities, which cloud computing offers. Because of the ability to make the instruction and learning process more resourceful, professional development coordinators need to add cloud computing to their list of offerings.
Makerspace comprises of creative spaces located in schools, communities, and academic and public libraries. The centers are designed to engage participants in hands-on activities, which teach twenty-first-century skills. Furthermore, the stress in makerspace is placed upon educating learners in STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects along with information and digital literacy. To make makerspaces that will maximize student performance, teachers need quality training in the field.
The application involves bringing in features of video games and using them to augment the intrinsic motivation behind carrying out specific tasks. Often, the systems include aspects such as the ability to earn points, advancing on a leader board, and reaching new levels. Even though many educators understand the fundamental principles of gamification, many do not recognize the best practices for maximizing its effects on student learning.
Virtual Laboratories encompass web applications giving pupils the chance to perform physical science experiments repeatedly, from anywhere with internet access. In a physical laboratory, the performance of the student will decide the results of the experiment. Although not a substitute for all in-lab exercises, the virtual version can offer extra guidance and practice. With the digital platform, there is no pressure on the learner to get it right on the first run, as mistakes are permissible because the technology lends itself to no-cost repetition. The tool also may prove a smart solution to rekindling the public’s interest in the field of science. Since it is a relatively new-fangled technology, educators need to be taught on how to implement it in their STEM classrooms.