To the Editor:
The U.S. Department of Education’s 2016 National Education Technology Plan deserves attention and praise. The plan’s scope expands beyond the classroom, calling for wider use of technology in the training, on-boarding, and professional development of teachers.
As the head of a technology company in the education space, I found this call to action especially relevant. Innovations in how technology is being used in the classroom are just as important as how technology is being deployed outside those four walls.
Of particular interest, the plan contains a robust discussion around increasing technology literacy for all teachers. In our interconnected world, schools strive to incorporate new technology whenever and however they can, and it is essential that human resource departments make sure teachers can keep pace.
There are a number of ways to address this need. Two stand out as particularly effective.
The first starts at the very beginning: Recruiting teachers who already have the training and experiences that underpin technological literacy. The second approach focuses on teachers already in the classroom, but who may not be as comfortable as the first group with introducing new technologies to students. Schools need to leverage performance management and coaching so these teachers can learn how to effectively incorporate the latest technological tools in their classrooms.
While it is useful to hire a teacher who is already up to speed on new resources, it is even more essential to provide opportunities for all teachers to learn and grow collectively. As the education and technology sectors continue to innovate, we must join together to use all resources at our disposal to bring the entire community forward.
From teachers and administrators to staff and counselors, we must leverage the full scope of what is possible today to ensure our young people can thrive tomorrow.
Kermit S. Randa
Chief Executive Officer
A version of this article appeared in the February 10, 2016 edition of Education Week as Teachers’ Technological Literacy Must Be Priority at All Career Stages