Using technology and teaching with technology are different…

Using technology and teaching with technology are different.  Assuming that younger, rather than mature teachers, better understand digital technologies is misguided. Kate Hammer writes:

It’s older, more experienced teachers – not younger, so-called digital natives – who are experimenting more with new technology in the classroom, a new report suggests.

And although Twitter, YouTube and mobile devices have infiltrated Canadian classrooms, the study finds that educators have serious concerns that students are “not-so-savvy surfers” – too prone to accept information published online as fact and be led astray. [….]

The report… Young Canadians in a Wired World, … is the third phase in an ongoing examination by Media Awareness Network of youth online. It takes a narrow focus on how teachers are using technology in the classroom and what barriers exist to maximizing these newest teaching tools. [….]

The teachers said filters are … problematic because they prevent access to useful teaching aids. Teachers in Quebec and Ontario described not being able to show videos in class because YouTube was blocked. And one teacher in Atlantic Canada described a failed campaign to get Twitter unblocked so her students could collaborate on math questions.

Perhaps the report’s most surprising finding is that the newest teachers aren’t the ones harnessing these new tools.

“I don’t see a lot of new teachers coming in knowing how to apply technology,” said Zhi Su, a teacher and technology director at John Oliver Secondary School in Vancouver.

Fresh out of college, few new teachers experiment with new technologies because they have the potential to be disruptive. It’s experience, and the confidence that comes with it, that is allowing teachers in their 40s and 50s to lead the way, according to the report.

Mr. Su believes that better teacher training is needed, so that new teachers have a better comfort level with new technologies.

“Teachers’ colleges should really be on the forefront,” he said. “They should have a compulsory course on using technology in the classroom.”

Surfaced as “Using technology in the classroom requires experience and guidance, report finds” | Kate Hammer | Feb. 15, 2012 | Globe and Mail at

The Phase III report is now available.

In 2011, Media Awareness Network began Phase III of its ongoing study. [….]

When asked about the challenges teachers face in helping students get the most out of digital media, our respondents identified five main issues:

  • the pressure to teach technical skills instead of digital literacy skills;
  • the impulse to revert to “drill and kill” teaching methods;
  • the potential for digital technologies to cause disruptions in the classroom;
  • the shortage of professional development opportunities for teachers to learn how to integrate digital media in the classroom; and
  • the issues that arise with Internet filters and bans on personal digital devices such as tablets and smartphones.

This last was the issue most often mentioned by teachers. [….]

One particularly interesting finding of the survey was the role a teacher’s age played in the integration of digital media in the classroom. While one might assume that younger students would be more comfortable in using digital media, survey participants said that more senior teachers’ experience in classroom management gave them the freedom to take chances and give up some control to students, letting them take the lead and teach themselves – and one another. Many participants talked about the importance of having access to mentors in helping them bring digital media into the classroom, particularly with the shortage of professional development time and resources reported by nearly all of the respondents.

Original article “Teaching the Net Generation: Teachers’ Perspectives in Young Canadians in a Wired World” | Matthew Johnson | Feb. 15, 2012 | Media Awareness Network at

Using technology in the classroom requires experience and guidance, report finds - The Globe and Mail