Doug Johnson, over at the Blue Skunk Blog, leverages his Learning Network and looks for answers to his own questions about the hiring of tech-savvy teachers. I'm game!
What makes a tech savvy teacher? (Is it attitude or knowledge of specific minimum of hardware/software packages?)
A tech-savvy teacher is one who acknowledges and enters the students' world of constant change and wants to utilise that expertise to further their own. I don't think that any specific knowledge of software is all that important because that could change as new apps hit the classroom and if Web based apps are all that the future say they will be, then transferable and adaptable tech skills are the real priority. They need to be able to demonstrate that they can access, use and manipulate whatever digital resources come their way - in fact, how they tackle a new unknown software package will tell you more than if they come with a certificate in Excel spreadsheets or Inspiration mindmaps. A tech savvy teacher isn't just computer based either - you'd want to see them turn their hand to mp3 players, pda's, mobile technologies, interactive whiteboards etc. and be salivating at the prospect. So, yeah, it's attitude every time.
How should a tech-savvy teacher create lesson plans? What is the mix of off-the-shelf apps, teacher-created projects/apps and traditional media (books etc.)?
The tech savvy teacher should use all of the above in a bid to cater for all of the students in their care and their individual learning needs - it's that flexibility to adapt to the situation and the concept that will dictate the tool of choice and the guidance that the teacher will provide. Lesson plans no matter how they are created (use a wiki like Doug Noon if you want!) have to be evolutionary and be engaging and relevant to the targetted student population.
Is tech-savvy teaching actually more effective than traditional teacher methods or is it really just a dazzling death by PowerPoint?
I blogged about this a little while back when I wrote about Maria, one of our new IWB users who does what a true tech savvy teacher should be able to do with technology, connect the concepts from the curriculum together so that the teachable moments all hang together and are brought together seamlessly. It's all stuff an excellent teacher can do anyway but with their tech savvy skills, it comes together quicker for the students.
When hiring a tech-savvy teacher what are some do’s and don’ts? What are some warning signs?
The warning sign would be someone who is Windows only or Mac only, or Smartboard only or ACTIVboard only - you want someone who is open to new challenges and wants to be at the front of the queue for when the new tech tools are being wheeled in. You want some history of developing initiatives or projects that explore the boundaries of learning.
As has been stated before, it's time teaching stopped being the only profession where utilising technology has been optional. Any good, Doug?