Improving your use of technology in the classroom is an easy way to stand out from the crowd in a job application - here are some easy ways to do it, says Bev Jones of the Career Colleges Trust
As a teacher, you may sometimes feel your students have better technology skills than you do – or more confidence in the digital department, at the very least.
If this resonates, you are not alone. The OECD Adult Skills report, published last year, indicated that a whopping 75% of adults in this country only have tech skills around Level 1 and below. Just 5% have Level 3 skills, which relates to something as routine as using a scheduling tool to set up a meeting. These are pretty shocking statistics.
So it's no surprise many teachers across the education sector lack the skills and confidence to use technology effectively.
The good news for you, however, is that this means there’s an easy way to stand out from the crowd. Having a good command of key digital skills and indeed, an interest in sharing these skills, will immediately put you ahead of the field when seeking a job in education.
But if you’re not confident about your IT skills, what should you do?
First, you have to beat the fear. Our research suggests this is the key issue, on two counts: fear that students know more than you and fear the technology won’t work during the lesson.
Second, you need to upskill. With the right training, you'll become more confident with a range of software and apps and won’t be as intimidated by your students’ knowledge.
Any training needs to fit into your busy schedule (so you will actually stick with it!) and the training needs to show you how to actually use the technology in a teaching environment – research shows this makes you much more likely to actually use it in practice.
With this in mind, here are 5 easy ways to develop your skills:
1. Online professional development courses. The Education and Training Foundation is a good place to start, with some very affordable options that your manager or head teacher will find it hard to refuse.
2. The Career Colleges Trust has recently launched a programme of digital CPD, comprising four free five-hour bitesize courses. Commissioned by the ETF and developed in partnership with Ideas4Learning and Coralesce, the online training is aimed specifically at educators working across schools, colleges and learning providers. The courses focus on: video learning, social media, online assessment and webinar technologies.
3. There may well be other teachers in your organisation who are already using technology in innovative ways. Link up with your peers and increase your confidence by sharing techniques to introduce digital elements to your lessons.
4. Don’t forget YouTube! It is full of ideas and examples of how to use technology in the classroom.
5. Use your pupils and students. After all, they’re the generation that's grown up holding an iPad. Ask them which websites, apps, and games they like to use and take some time to look them up – you might be inspired.
The good news is that digital literacy is moving higher up on the government’s agenda, so training opportunities may increase. Make sure you get in there early, before everyone else does!
Bev Jones is Director of Operations and Digital Development at the Career Colleges Trust