It may be the season of engagements and weddings but I’m not talking about that kind of romance–although I am talking about a kind of love affair. More and more teachers are having a love affair with their new technology tools– more specifically their interactive whiteboards (IWB). Many of these teachers have been teaching for years and have reached a point in their career where the tasks of teaching just aren’t fresh anymore.
Along comes a technology that is exciting students and low and behold teachers too. “I haven’t had this much fun teaching in 20 years,” is being heard around our district. I think it’s more than having something new and flashy that catches the students’ attention. I think teachers are discovering a new found way to bring creativity back into their lessons.
Let’s face it, an awful lot is prescribed in today’s classrooms. Teachers are being required to conform to standard curricula, to deliver instruction in research proven best practice ways, and to make sure to cover the topics in time for the end of the year tests. The key to keeping things fresh in today’s classroom is to be able to figure out how to do all these required things and make them feel new.
Here’s where the interactive whiteboard comes in. It’s true, you can download files from share sites and use them in your lessons in minutes. But it’s the teachers who are digging into the IWB software and discovering ways to build their own lessons who are feeling the rejuvenation I’m talking about.
Yes, it’s taking them gobs of time to create their interactive lessons, but when they get done they are ending up with something that they have matched to the unique skills of their students and the specific benchmarks they need to cover. And they are discovering that the huge initial time commitment gets less and less as they become adept at using the tools.
So, educational technologists may be talking all about the impact of technology on student engagement, but maybe we should also be talking about technology’s impact on teacher engagement. After all, student achievement is all about quality teachers and quality teachers love what they do!