Educators’ Technology Skills

Now that networked devices have been available for decades and become mainstream as greater parts of the population became users, it seems reasonable to expect that anyone who seeks to work as a professional in education will arrive on the job prepared to operate or learn to operate desktop, laptops, and even tablet computers they (or students) are given. Further, they should arrive with the ability to adapt their skill to new models of computers, and with a general awareness of how computers function and how to create documents and navigate networks. While no list of technology skills can be complete, the following seem to be skills every educators should arrive in the classroom prepared to perform independently:

  • create and manage documents with any productivity suite, including cloud platforms
  • find, share, and use Internet resources with facility
  • publish information to the web
  • use email
  • model ethical and safe computing
  • perform basic troubleshooting and make informed requests for assistance

The details of how to perform these operations on the specific systems provided in each school are likely to vary, so a part of the on-boarding process of newly hired educational professionals must be to ensure they are given instruction in logging on to and accessing necessary technology systems. This is of particular importance when the systems are necessary to perform their duties; such systems include email, the student information system, and virtual classrooms. Once an educator is shown how to access systems for these tasks (for example, once they are given a username and password and a web address to get their email), the details of how to perform these tasks on specific systems should be within their ability to learn with independence. Educators can and should assume responsibility for being able to use (or quickly learn to use) new or updated operating systems, productivity software, and emerging Internet-based information sources. Updates and simple changes to the interface should cause little consternation to educators in the 21st century, and should not be an excuse for not using a system.