Embrace the tech tools for learningTuesday, October 20, 2020
Online teaching and learning can, undoubtedly, be a challenge for many. I would never discount or downplay this reality. However, the mindset of many educators, students, and parents has made the experience all the more tedious and frustrating.
Some of us are simply Luddites. We are opposed to using the new technologies and so we easily feel overwhelmed when there are glitches with their use. Still, a call for the resumption of face-to-face classes — in a modified fashion, of course — cannot be the sole or foremost elixir.
We need to be open to adapting. Adaptability is high on the list of skills that senior executives desire in their employees. Such a skill enables one to survive and thrive, especially in this current milieu. Moreover, “If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward.” (John Wooden)
How well are we adapting as teachers, and how well are we modelling such a skill for our students? Are we simply complaining and berating everyone we deem responsible for our woes?
If the great digital divide is mended, but our education stakeholders remain technologically resistant, many of our current problems with online teaching and learning will persist. We need an attitudinal shift. Otherwise, even our face-to-face sessions will be denied the transformative impact of technology.
We can effectively adapt by learning, as well. In this information-rich age we can teach ourselves to use the latest innovations. YouTube, for example, has schooled me in the use of many online tools. Just this weekend I watched several tutorials, paused them intermittently and practised the steps shared. This was not always easy, but I was consistently open to learning and overcoming the challenges.
Colleagues, we have to be open-minded and receptive. We are lifelong learners, and our professional portfolios should be diversified and enhanced throughout our tenure.
Let us be unafraid and unashamed of erring in front of our students. In fact, our students are digital natives, and they are happy to assist us when we are unsure of what to do. Learn with them. Grow with them.
Remember, too, that there are many technological tools out there that can reduce your workload. Yes! Be open to exploring them. We can do this! Stay positive!
Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock
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