Technology educators here in Atlanta, GA and throughout the United States are shifting from teacher-centered to student-centered models.
When talking with educators from around Georgia, we find that one of the most discussed topics centers around implementing “The Shift.”
Why “The Shift?”
Technology—unlike mathematics or history—is no longer a subject that requires introduction. Kids today know no other world than a world where technology coexists with them. Children as young as a year of age are already interacting, engaging, learning, and being entertained by the digital world.
By the time a child joins a pre-k or kindergarten classroom, he or she already understands the process of getting and manipulating information. What that means for the educator of today, is that the teaching challenge has shifted from direct instruction to inquiry-based or cooperative learning, teaching a technically savvy group of youngsters, whose learning and consumption processes have radically changed from even a decade ago.
Adjusting Teaching Methods to the Digital Learning Style
On many levels, students probably know much more about technology than teachers do. However, students are missing a key ingredient: learning the processes that will prepare them to communicate with others, better understand the world around them, broaden their perspectives, and prepare them for real-world problem solving.
By creating a technology-friendly environment, teachers can evolve their classrooms from teacher-centered to student-centered models, giving students more responsibility over their own learning processes. Teachers become facilitators, rather than instructors, and students become more engaged in driving the course of their own learning in classrooms as technology is utilized.
Where to Start?
No two schools or two classrooms are identical. In addition, integrating technology into the classroom can be an overwhelming task. The educator’s role is to help bridge the gap between what “they know” and what “they need to know.”
First, is to find out what the students know—technology speaking. Are they online? What do they see? Do they play games? Do they use a hand-held device, such as a phone or tablet? What is the outcome of their online/digital experience? Who are they communicating with? Who are they getting their information from? Educators need to assess their students’ digital ability.
Second, is to assess what they need to know: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, language arts, real-life outcomes, and determining their needs.
Third, is to find the tools that bridge the gap; the tools that connect their students with their interests, goals, desires and ambitions.
What to Do Next?
Assessing a classroom’s or school’s needs to meet today’s technology and student-centered learning approaches does not have to be overwhelming.
Recently, we communicated with a teacher whose students were very STEM focused; however, there weren’t any tools in the classroom (other than a computer) to engage them. Upon request, we recommended that the school purchase a classroom’s worth of Arduinos, bundled with an Arduino workshop for the teacher. After completing the workshop, the teacher went from “0” to “comfortable to be able to teach Arduino circuitry to her students. As a result, her kids are coming in after class to continue working with the Arduinos to expanding their understanding and application of Arduinos, and expanding on their STEM exploration.
At Plaz Tech Educational, we strive to make the process easy. Let us assess your current situation and provide you with an easy to follow plan to help you make “The Shift,” or move forward with it. From equipment to instruction, the options are countless. We can help you streamline your needs with solutions that fit your curriculum and adhere to common core practices.
Plaz Tech is a Georgia-based education start-up, focusing on training, lesson plan development, and consulting that brings together real world technology and tools to real classrooms. Combining education and industry experience, Plaz Tech focuses on student and educator outcomes that have a lasting impact in our world.