Do you know an instructor caught up in the last century when it comes to technology? Oops – Is it you that is caught in the past? Are you still squeaking by with outdated technology skills, hoping no one will notice?
Does your instructor even have their degree yet?
Unfortunately, if an instructor doesn’t have those lifelong learning skills either from prior education, or learned through continuing professional development, they probably won’t appreciate the benefits derived from the use of technology in their classroom.
The belief and value systems of each individual teacher are a factor to consider when looking at how they view technology. If an instructor’s beliefs and/or values are not respected, then they may not be as open to learning new technology.
While instructors may be wonderful lecturers, some fumble when using various forms of technology. Technology was never taught as a meaningful method of instruction in the 60’s – 80’s. Technology has been forced upon a whole generation of educators – long after their formal training was already over. The frustration level is evident.
I have trained instructors myself over the past several years on use of classroom technology. Many times they would ask me the same questions over and over again. That is fine, that is how people learn. However, the dilemma that I see, is that some instructors still don’t feel that they have to utilize the technology on a constant basis, so a lot of retraining takes place. There isn’t anything there to motivate them to retain the technological information. They do not have too.
Professional development for all distance educators needs to go beyond the basics. All beliefs and values aside – some educators really do need to go back to school themselves. Institutions of higher learner cannot expect its instructors to teach over a technology medium that they themselves struggle with. Teacher readiness may be more than just “being ready”. In some cases, they don’t have to use the technology, so they gimp by with just the basics. Some don’t want to learn it, while others excel in the new knowledge.
If we are going to effectively design technologically based educational models to integrate into our classrooms, we first must train the instructors who will be the guides in any new online or blended learning environment. As instructors, it really is our job to move our own knowledge base into the 21st century.