This generation of students is beyond tech-savvy and could be described as tech-innate. Since this group has grown up in a high-tech society, they think spatially and in 4D, which is different than past generations.
As digital leaders, it is important to cultivate systemic conditions in education that support and nurture a growth mindset for these students, while allowing them to utilize their technical expertise.
When school districts bring in technology to do just that, it is also integral that administrators support educators and keep pedagogy in mind.
Support Teachers Through All Aspects of Tech Integration
Teachers need direction from administrators on how to improve their pedagogy and incorporate technology into their lesson plans.
Administrators should access the Danielson Group Framework for Teaching, a valuable research-based tool for scalable observations of instructional practice. Using the framework, administrators should ask teachers the following questions before flooding the classroom with technology:
- How will you use educational technology to cognitively engage your students?
- How will you use educational technology to create opportunities for cognitive differentiation among your students in the lessons?
The SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition) model for technology use is a great way for educators to develop digital learning experiences. This methodology splits tech use into four categories, each of which changes the educational experience for both students and teachers.
The SAMR model helps educators flow from the simple, such as substituting technology for another classroom tool, to the complex, like executing a new task that was impossible before the technology was implemented.
Evaluate Teachers with PD in Mind
When it comes time to evaluate teachers, administrators should look for ways to improve instruction, rather than judge. In addition, when a deficit is discovered, teachers should be offered relevant and timely professional development and have input on what would benefit them.
The purpose of evaluating teachers is to improve instruction in ways that impact students. Providing teachers with resources and guidance to reach all students using innovative practices and technology will make successful administrators, teachers and students.