A new article in Education week points out the gap in training teachers for a digital classroom. This may not, however, be a new problem but just another instance of a longstanding discrepancy in Ed. school curriculum, the preponderance of education theory over job skills.
Education theory is a critical component in teacher preparation, but Ed. Schools have behaved as if it was the only component. Even before the advent of digital tools, Ed. Schools tended to ignore practical issues like grades, attendance, discipline, and communication. Many new teachers who are well-versed in theory become overwhelmed by the day to day tasks which are now often digital. Teachers need job skills for today’s classrooms. Here are some of the digital systems and their related issues that teachers must master to be successful.
- Grade keeping and reporting systems – How do teachers provide fair and accurate grades to students and school using this software? What are the best practices that encourage transparency, accountability, and trust in grading?
- Student database systems (attendance, transcripts) – What are the reporting responsibilities and best practices for using this system?
- Assessment database systems – How do teachers identify, extract, and analyze data? What are the basic statistical principles that should be applied to analyze the data?
- Learning management systems (including web publishing and email communication) – What type of and in what format should classroom information be published? How should communication among teacher, parent, and student be organized?
- Discipline and behavior database systems – What are the reporting responsibilities and best practices for using this system?
- Digital textbooks (online and pre-loaded) – What are the best practices in optimizing the digital format?
- Digital lesson delivery (from posting worksheets online to filming and posting entire classes) – How can teachers take face to face delivery and expand it to digital delivery?
- Online assessments (benchmarks and high stakes) – How are these administered? What are the potential problems, and how can they be solved?
- Curriculum-specific applications that instruct/practice concepts – How do teachers find and implement quality applications? How do teachers blend these applications with face-to-face instruction?
- Distance learning (synchronous and asynchronous web-based classes) – What are the best practices in creating a digital rather than physical classroom?
- Social media – How should these tools be used in a professional setting to enhance learning?
- Hardware and information management systems – What are the characteristics of classroom hardware (surround sound systems, notebooks, laptops, digital projectors, interactive whiteboards, tablets)? What are the types of connectivity and hardware associated with these (wireless, local network, routers)? How are classroom lessons structured for computer labs and carts, 1-to-1 mobile, and bring your own device models?
Regarding #9, theWRITEapp builds curriculum specific applications in the area of writing. We provide teachers with lesson plans and other tools to fully integrate the applications with face-to-face instruction. We hope that this will become a model for application development.