I just started another semester teaching “Instructional Media and Computer Applications” at the University of Montana, where I am a doctoral candidate and campus employee working for the state virtual school.
My students are pre-service teachers, usually sophomores and juniors, that are declared education majors with dreams of their own classroom. The energy is palpable in the room: these people are ready to go out and educate the next generation of students. However, I am struck, as I am every semester, with two interesting dynamics.
I always do an attitude survey to start my semester to determine where my students are starting in their perceptions and beliefs regarding educational technology. While their answers are often interesting, I am most struck by the answers to these two questions:
“True or False: My K-12 teachers were, on balance, ‘good’ with technology.”
“True or False: My college professors are, on balance, ‘good’ with technology.”
The answers are consistent across the four times I have taught this course: students believe, by a clear majority, that their college professors are better with technology than their K-12 teachers. Of course, I have an interesting vantage point here. I serve as an adjunct professor at my university and I came from K-12 and spend a lot of time in K-12 classrooms. I don’t believe that there is really a large difference between the technology skills of college professors and K-12 teachers. Indeed, this question ignores that fact that there great individual difference amongst the professionals in both camps.
When I listen to these students, now about to becomes teachers themselves, talk about their own experiences, I am reminded: our students are paying attention. The decisions we make matter. The skill sets we use in our classroom do leave a lasting impression.
The work you are putting in as a teacher to become a better teacher, whether that involves technology or not, is both noticed and appreciated by your students.
On a separate topic, these students overwhelmingly tell me they prefer to read on paper over a screen. But, that’s a subject for another post. 🙂
Have a great weekend!
Image: Brian Hillegas