In a technology-rich society, teachers need to be able to adapt to the changes occurring in their classrooms as they become technology-rich learning environments. These changes are occurring as a consequence of the new learning needs of students.
Therefore, to develop student ICT capability is essential and “teachers who can utilise technology-rich environments to assist in the development of these skills in their students will be at a distinct advantage over those who cannot, as they are multi-skilled and can offer their students additional experiences in their quest for knowledge” (Rickards, 2003, p. 117).
In a knowledge-based economy, there is a large demand for people to be proficient in ICT.
What this means for teachers is that “having the skills to utilise fully whatever technologies or lack of technologies, are present in your learning environment” is a desirable trait to possess.
Technology transforms into a valuable asset for the teacher to have. Rickards (2003) states that “with appropriate teaching and technology skills, a teacher can adapt an environment where technology may not be fully operational and take a more flexible delivery approach” (p119).
In return, this model to students that “people need to be responsive in the workplace and adapt to new environments quickly” (Rickards, 2003, p. 120).
Being an ICT capable teacher is not about having the fastest, the latest or most impressive technology. The role of the teacher in a technology-rich learning environment is simply to make the most efficient use of what they have and what is readily available.
To become an ICT capable teacher who can teach effectively in these environments is all about “taking charge of your own path toward personal empowerment with technology and selecting what is most appropriate for your and the tasks that you have to achieve today either as an individual or as part of a collaborative team” (Rickards, 2003, p. 120). It is about embedding evidence based teaching strategies for the effective technology integration in the classroom.
Strategies for Success
Understanding your role as a teacher in technology rich learning environment is important and needs to be supported with effective teaching strategies when teaching with technology. In an online and digital world, equipping students is essential, and shifting your focus from a teacher-centred to a student-centred learning focus will not be easy. However, your effective teaching environment depends on it.
Teaching with technology can be achieved if pedagogical approaches allow students to make decisions about what they need to learn, how they need to learn when it should be learned. This is a lengthy process and the role of the teacher in an effective teaching and learning environment is the key to creating and maintaining how students learn in technology rich learning environments.
You will need to focus on instructional emphasis such as relationships, inquiry, and intervention along with the transformation of facts.
Teaching with technology in the learning process requires you to understand how technology can enhance the teaching and learning process. Every student as a learner must be engaged in the learning process – a learning process that involves an authentic learning experience.
In such technology rich learning environments, they can take ownership as they construct their own learning, and scaffolding in the classroom is provided yourself as the teacher through the structure of the teaching and learning environment.
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What makes a tech rich learning environment?
Technology for primary schools has expanded a lot over the past decade. One thing must always remain true though, and that is it must always allow you to achieve your main goal of developing ICT capability. This is ultimately achieved in a technology rich classroom that hosts ICT tools and resources that develop ICT capability.
When it comes to studying and learning effectively in technology-rich environments you also need to employ successful strategies. Technology is changing the way that education is being delivered and a technology rich classroom needs the following tools:
- Word processor
- Desktop publisher
- Advanced web-searching skills
- Presentation software;
- Web 2.0;
- Making a video or movie;
- Web design.
Such tools make any classroom a technology rich classroom today.