Educators are surrounded by goals and expectations. One of the most important goals is student learning. Educators are responsible for molding the leaders of tomorrow. To prepare students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. It is a career that is demanding, daunting and yet more rewarding than any other.
One advantage that teachers of today have over teachers of the past is the opportunity to use technology in the classroom. As educators, we need to harness the power of technology and use it to enhance student learning. In the 2013 Horizon Report, several key trends are identified to help K-12 educators prepare for shifts in technologies. Among these key trends, is the ability for the school and teachers to reevaluate their role in education and how best to help students. “Institutions must consider the unique value that schools add to a world in which information is everywhere, and generally free. In such a world, sense making and the ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount. Mentoring and preparing students for the world in which they will live and work, is again at the forefront. (Johnson et al.,2013).
Technology is a new literacy and is equally as important as other content skills. It is each educator’s responsibility to ensure that their students have the skills necessary to be successful in college and/or be competitive in the work force. Students also need to be able to communicate effectively, be critical thinkers and be able to collaborate. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills created a framework that, “Presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century (P21, 2011)
It is an exciting time in education and roles are changing. Teacher’s are no longer the keepers of knowledge. Instead, they need to mentor and guide students to find and synthesis the wealth of knowledge that is at their fingertips. It is important that the necessary steps to integrate technology and prepare for future are in place. A clear technology integration plan needs to be outlined and time for professional development is imperative to success.
Technology has the power to motivate students by gaining their attention and supporting their individual needs (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 25). Technology also can provide teachers with information they need to guide instruction and provide students with individualized learning. According to Edutopia (2008), “Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy” (para. 1). It is the job of the student, parent, teacher, school, and community to prepare and flourish with technology. It is already in the hands of students. It is our responsibility to ensure they know what to do with it. If everyone works together, the needs of students will be met, by providing integrated experiences that challenge and reward all those involved.
Edutopia Staff. (2008). Why integrate technology into the curriculum?: The reasons are many. Edutopia. Retrieved September 2, 2013, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon report: 2013 K-12 edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/overview
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Pearson.