Effective Teachers Use Technology

Early in the history of computing, no one could predict the degree to which digital information and devices were going to affect communication. Early in the 21st century, it was common to quantify the speed at which humans communicate and the vastness of the information available, but those comparisons are no longer relevant. With the internet, we have access to effectively infinite information, and we communicate with individuals or groups on a global scale effectively instantaneously.

The expectation that teachers use technology is grounded in three observations:

  • Becoming educated means that one develops experience and skill using information and tools they will encounter once they leave school. That information and those tools are digital, teachers have the responsibility to use them just as my teachers in the 1970’s and 1980’s had a responsibility to use books and paper.
  • Digital tools can increase teachers’ efficiency and effectiveness. I often tell the story of the faculty member who refused to use online tests for multiple choices tests, and also complained he did not have sufficient time to grade exams before final grades were due. Effective teachers recognize the value of digital tools and use them.
  • Online learning is one strategy by which schools can serve populations that do not have access to education otherwise. Effective teachers teach students—all students—regardless of where they are or when they can study.

While computers were originally tools that sat on desks and were used by individuals to create and consume information, computers have become devices used to connect to tools and information on the Internet. Classrooms have also become physical places and online spaces.