Teachers' Perceptions of Technology in the Classroom

An overview of the different types of teacher we see in schools and how they may perceive technology in their own classroom... which one are you?

I'm a millennial and, having just come out of the other end of teacher training, I'm in the rare yet fortunate position of having been able to go into many different schools and observe many different styles of teachers in terms of their technology usage.

Let's break it down...

The 'Tech-Savvy Teacher'
This teacher is glued to their iPad and can even teach students advanced programming with Scratch. They love their interactive whiteboard and go into meltdown when the school's network fails. Technology is integrated into their daily practice and they enjoy showing other teachers new apps, software or websites.

Sadly, this type of teacher is rare.

One of the best teachers I've seen using technology was retiring the year after I left, so the stereotype of the young tech-savvy millennial is pointless, simply because it's not always true.

'That's not what it was like in my day'
Technology in the Classroom
Every school has at least one. These teachers have been teaching for 35 years, often come out with the phrase 'I was teaching before you were even born' and shy away from those 'thingies' in the corner of their room, or their 'posh white board'.

As a student in their classroom, I once demonstrated how you could use an iPad to record learning in their KS1 classroom and they called me a witch. This is what we're dealing with here. Easy to blow their minds, be careful you don't show them more than one tool at a time.

Have A Go... Please!?!
Contrary to popular belief, technology isn't scary. It can't hurt to try something new in your classroom.

Why not have a go at using iPads to animate voiceover or spoken language?

Or why not use a laptop to create a research presentation? I beg, there are so many benefits to using technology to aid learning and promote a social constructivist classroom environment.

As they would say... "teaching never used to have all of this technology, so why should I start using it now?" Well...

1. The children
I'd be willing to bet a significant amount of my student debt on the fact that the majority of the children in your classroom have access to technology. In order to be able to effectively reach and teach these children, we need to appeal to what interests them to draw them into their own learning.

2. Awareness
Technology is all around us. I'm sure I don't need to point out the technology around you at this very moment, but it's safe to say technology is taking over the world we live in. It's almost certain that any job a child goes into now will involve them interacting with various technologies. Whether we like it or not, technology is all around us and we, as teachers, need to embrace this.

3. It's fun!
There's nothing better than showing a child something new, seeing their face light up in amazement and excitement.

One of my favourite examples of this is my Raspberry Pi Kits. Children are mesmerised by how this tiny piece of plastic, metal and solder is a fully functional computer that can do pretty much anything they can dream of.

Technology is inspiring, and I hope that one day everyone can find a way to successfully integrate it in some way or another to their classroom environment (or at least use our smart boards as collaborative tools and not expensive projector screens... sigh).

Sam is a final year Primary Education student at Edge Hill with a keen interest in technology in the classroom and the teaching of computing within our current curriculum. Also, he's a Pi Certified Educator (Class of 2016) and from the Isle of Man.
Want to know more? @SamPalmerEHU

Originally published in Hello World Issue 5 : The Computing and Digital Making Magazine for Educators. Above article includes modifications from the original article by Sam Palmer. License CC BY-NC-SA 3.0