Silver Bullet Technology

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It’s time for schools of education to prepare teachers to teach in the 21st century classroom, or something.

According to an editorial by Tawn Hauptli in Community College Week:

Research shows that even when the barriers of lack of time, support, and access were removed, some teachers simply did not care to use technology or view it is an effective instructional method.

An obvious solution to these barriers is for teachers to enter the profession with general technology skills and experience using technology in teaching and learning contexts. Many researchers have concluded the best place for teachers to develop the requisite skills to use technology effectively is in their teacher preparation program. Those skills developed when pre-service teachers were required to use technology for research and teaching.

This opinion piece illustrates a sort of weird misconception that people have about higher education, one that seems to occur rather frequently in the rhetoric of academic administrators. If people do something in a job and they’re not currently doing it very well, obviously they should learn to do it more effectively in college.

Thus, teachers who resist using technology in the classroom must learn to use technology in teacher training programs.

Maybe not. Technology is only a tool to allow people to teach something else. Some technology is useful and some isn’t. Some teachers might be assisted by technology available for teaching and evaluation of learning. But some won’t. Furthermore, any good teacher will look to improve instruction through whatever is available. That means fancy technology, sure, but it doesn’t mean just technology.

Part of the problem might be that Hauptli is trying to push for something that that isn’t really possible: using higher education to create better teachers.

This isn’t worth it. Just stop trying. The secret to getting effective educators doesn’t have much to do with “preparing education majors” to use technology. Bad teachers don’t use technology because they’re not innovative, curious, and hardworking. If these teachers receive technology training they’ll just be bad teachers with technology training. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer