Four elementary students with iPads and headphones supervised by young teacher

How to Embrace Technology Advancement to Be a Better Teacher

Digital tools have a transformative impact for teachers and students. If you're an aspiring educator, here's how to use technology to everyone's benefit.

People have the power to uplift each other.  Every year, teachers inspire students to pursue their interests, become imaginative and productive individuals, and discover things they never thought possible. However, the educator’s role has evolved a lot in the 21st century. No longer just distributors of knowledge, teachers are guides, coaches, mentors, and advisors who encourage students to think critically and embrace lifelong learning—and technology plays a key part in that modern education.

Teachers are expected to have the necessary skills and competencies to integrate technology into their curriculums. According to research, most K–12 schools have nearly doubled their use of educational technology since 2020, and many colleges anticipate launching one or more online undergraduate programs in the next three years. As an aspiring teacher, how can you empower yourself to embrace technology and modernize your professional development for the digital era? Let’s explore.

The impact of technology on your role as a teacher

Technology has revolutionized teaching roles in several key ways. First, it enables teachers to quickly enhance their expertise in various subjects through online courses and YouTube videos. As a result, you can constantly update your knowledge and provide the most current information to students without having to take a break from teaching duties. Teachers act as both quality and quantity filters, helping students sift through information in a vast online space for relevance and accuracy. Teaching methods have shifted from teacher- to student-driven, moving away from talk and show to inquiry and discovery while leveraging each student’s abilities and learning styles.

You can use search engines for conducting in-class research and sourcing samples that make your content more interesting, sparking student engagement with the subject matter. The best part is this approach is cost-free, allowing educators to experiment with different strategies and tactics if the first attempts do not succeed with the wealth of free tools on the internet. Further, technology encourages collaborative problem-solving among you and your colleagues. By participating in communities of experts sharing their insights, you can easily find answers to almost any question on teaching practices using platforms like Quora.

Related: How to Utilize Technology to Get Ahead of the Class

Professional development strategies for new educators

The need to provide teachers with professional development strategies as they move from traditional subjects to technology-supported education is crucial. You will need to acquire the skills to navigate the complex and ever-changing processes of 21st-century society as in any other field. So what specific actions can educators take to support their professional development?

Embrace collaborative learning and support

Professional growth thrives on collaborative learning and peer support. When you exchange experiences, hurdles, and successful strategies with fellow aspiring teachers, you all create a richer learning atmosphere. And the same goes for your own classroom someday! Shared learning and growth flourish through peer-led workshops, discussion groups, and mentorship initiatives.

Seek out feedback and evaluation

Consistent feedback and evaluation are important for gauging the success of your professional development. Sources of this feedback include self-assessment, reviews by colleagues, and input from your learners. Assessing how the training you’re receiving affects your teaching methods and learner results is key to enhancing and fine-tuning professional development efforts.

Gain online learning engagement skills

Keeping students engaged in online courses is a big challenge. Seek out professional development programs that teach educators how to boost interaction and participation through the use of multimedia, interactive tasks, online discussions, and group projects. You need to know how to build a community feel and promote active involvement from students in the digital classroom because, as the pandemic taught us, you never know when that may become your medium of teaching.

Stay on top of tech progress

Tech tools such as video lessons, automatic feedback, and practice simulations can greatly enhance teacher training. AI, for example, can help teachers prepare lesson plans and design full curriculums. AI also makes it easy for educators to pinpoint areas for improvement, polish their teaching strategies, and stay up-to-date on changing trends in tech and education all to improve the learning experience for students.

Tackle burnout and your mental health head on

Teaching is a demanding job that can cause burnout, especially from being so directly affected by shifts in societal norms. As an educator, it’s important to learn how to manage stress, take care of yourself, and improve your overall well-being whenever necessary. This way, you can have a long, rewarding, effective career.

Related: 10 Things I Learned When Student Teaching

Maximizing learning through educational technology trends

To make teaching and learning experiences better for both students and teachers, colleges and universities have and continue to adopt a variety of effective methods and tech tools. Pay attention to what your school utilizes as you earn your Education degree and save some for future use, such as:

  • Interactive content: Use digital tools to make lessons more interactive through multimedia, simulations, and virtual experiences. Tools like SMART Boards and Kahoot! keep students interested and meet a more visual style of learning.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): Many colleges invest in LMS platforms like Google Classroom to keep resources organized, give assignments, and make communication and administrative work easy.
  • Foster teamwork: A tool like Google Workspace enables teamwork on documents, presentations, and projects in real time. Online forums or virtual classrooms allow students to work together even when they’re not together.
  • Instant feedback: Digital platforms allow for quick assessments and feedback. Tools like Quizizz or Socrative let educators instantly understand how well students are grasping material and alter teaching methods on the fly.
  • Flipped classrooms: Reimagine the traditional classroom by delivering digital homework before class. This approach frees up classroom time for interactive discussions, group work, and practical projects.

The future of teaching

As technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, students are increasingly turning to the internet for their studies. This shift is likely to push students beyond the use of digital books for videos to better understand their subjects. Libraries and classrooms will have to evolve accordingly into spaces for student interaction, collaboration, and learning that rely more heavily on technology. Simultaneously, we can expect students to begin relying more on AI systems for answers. In the future, teachers may need to transition more into mentorship roles as AI replaces their role as a primary source of knowledge, marking a significant shift in educational practices. Teaching students how to use AI safely and morally will be included in those responsibilities as well.

Related: 4 Smart, Responsible Ways to Incorporate AI and ChatGPT in Test Prep 

Technology is an important part of the educational process as it transforms old ways of teaching and promotes student-driven learning. These learning tools go beyond the classroom—changing how you present lessons, check student progress, and engage with them—and open up a wide range of opportunities to improve learning experiences and results. Rather than being scared of this digital evolution, you should focus on adapting to the new reality and acquiring new skills—especially if you’re still in college—thereby improving your professional development practices and making yourself a better educator.

If you’re an aspiring educator about to embark on your first postgrad job search, read our article on The Where, How, and When of Finding a Teaching Job to help you find the right one.

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