The Ten Characteristics of Teachers Who Successfully Use EdTech
Technology is changing the landscape of teaching and learning. Textbooks are being phased out, makerspaces are becoming increasingly common, and communication between teachers and students has never been easier or more abundant. Technology is unavoidable, and while some teachers may still feel hesitant about the changes that are coming fast and furiously in the wake of these advancements, most teachers want to embrace the potential. Teachers that are successfully integrating educational technology in their classrooms are beacons for their peers – and there is much they can teach us.
Teachers who are successfully using edtech to grow their students share these ten important traits:
- They Are Flexible
Technology can be wonderful, enriching, and game-changing for students. It can help bridge the gap for struggling learners, it can bring distance learners together, and it can be an indomitable research tool. But technology can be unreliable. Technical glitches, unsteady internet connection, or a steep learning curve can throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans. Teachers who are successfully using technology are flexible; they have a backup plan for when things go awry, they are patient as students learn new procedures and apps, and they are willing to adjust lessons if something isn’t working.
- They Have a Growth Mindset
Having a growth mindset means that you are capable of learning and growing and that things can – and will – get better with effort and practice. This is essential when integrating technology. Like anything worthwhile, integrating edtech into your classroom can be difficult. It means having new routines, teaching new skills and strategies, and being patient while students adjust. But it also means there is great potential for growth and more meaningful learning. Teachers who are getting the most out of technology are willing to work, and occasionally be uncomfortable and uncertain, to grow themselves and their students.
- They Listen to the Students
Listening to student feedback helps teachers figure out what technology is working and what is not. Using technology can make learning much more student-centered as the students learn to seek out information for themselves. As a teacher’s role becomes more facilitative and less authoritative, good teachers will learn to listen to the students’ feedback so that they can adapt the classroom and the technology to meet the kids’ needs.
- They Embrace Change
Technology is fluid and constantly changing and improving. This means that teachers who successfully implement technology must also change and improve. Teachers who are bringing edtech into their classrooms are malleable and adaptive and see change not as a hindrance, but as an opportunity.
- They Plan Ahead
Successfully incorporating technology into a classroom is not something that happens on the fly. Incorporating edtech requires careful research into what will work best for a particular lesson (and why). It requires a knowledge of what opportunities are available, and what is needed to bring them successfully to live in various environments. It also requires a lot of research into classroom management to avoid misuse of technology. This is tied closely to growth mindset: creating a technological classroom requires teachers who are willing to learn!
- They Collaborate
Technology is breaking down distance barriers. Teachers who use technology are more likely to collaborate, not only with their district coworkers (hello, cross-curricular opportunities!) but also with classes and schools across the country, and even across the globe. Building bridges between classes and schools makes learning more impactful for students, who can begin to apply the concepts they learn in real-world situations.
- They Read, Read, Read
Blogs, research studies, newsletters, journals: all of these are great resources on current trends in edtech. Teachers who are successfully implementing technology are staying current with the research and the latest trends in technology so that they can integrate those strategies in their classrooms.
- They Have a Backup Plan
If something does go wrong, teachers who use technology don’t give up! They have a backup plan, and a backup plan for that plan, too. They are ready for every situation – internet outages, network glitches, students who forget their technology at home, students who don’t know how to use the technology: all of these roadblocks are foreseen and planned for by expert teachers using edtech.
- They Are Student-Centered
Technology means that students are in the driver’s seat in the classroom. They are deciding what information they need to find and how, and what to do with that information. Teachers who are successfully implementing technology are willing to take a backseat to the students’ direction, and support students in whatever ways they can. It’s a shift in thinking, for sure, but it’s just one of many for dedicated educators helping students learn valuable 21st-century skills.
- They Care
Any good teacher – especially those successfully integrating edtech into their classrooms – cares for their students. They want what’s best for them, and they’re willing to use any strategy or resource in order to help their students reach their true potential.
Technology changes the way students learn – and the way teachers teach. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s vital for teachers to emulate these characteristics so that students can be competitive and prepared for an ever-changing, technologically-driven world.