One has to understand how to integrate technology into the classroom or an entire school or school district to become an effective educator in today’s world. However, the looming questions is how do teachers and education administrators learn how to use technology to facilitate the teaching and learning process? It can be learned through trial and error, through their teacher education or education leadership programs, and through professional development. Let’s discuss the 6 key areas of technology professional development for teachers and education administrators.
Makerspaces – Creative spaces located in communities, schools, and public and academic libraries, makerspaces are designed to engage participants in hands-on activities that teach twenty-first-century skills. Makerspaces emphasize upon educating students in STEAM (science, technology, the arts, engineering, and mathematics) subjects as well as digital and information literacy. Educators need quality professional development for guidance and support to create makerspaces that will maximize student performance.
Gamification – The process of bringing in aspects of video games and using them to increase the intrinsic motivation behind completing certain tasks is called gamification. These systems often include aspects like reaching new levels, the ability to earn points, and even advancing on a leaderboard. Most educators do not understand the best practices for maximizing the effects of gamification on student learning despite understanding its basic principles, and this is where professional development steps in.
Virtual laboratories – Virtual laboratories are web applications that give students the chance to perform physical science experiments multiple times from anywhere with Internet access. The performance of the student will determine the results of the experiment as in a physical lab. While not a replacement for all in-lab exercises, it can definitely provide extra practice and guidance. With no pressure to get it right in the first attempt, it may prove a smart solution to rekindling the world’s interest in the scientific. Being in an infant stage, educators need to be trained on how to implement it in their STEM classrooms.