Does technology truly reduce the workload for teachers? I will discuss this topic reflecting on my 13 years of teaching experience. In the long term, I believe technology that is implemented with a strategy and used with loyalty can increase productivity at the same time it decreases work for the educator. Plain and simple: be efficient.
When using any new tech product for the first time bear in mind it takes time to fully understand and manage it. With time you will be an expert on any platform. This is where the misconception of “more work for the teacher” comes into play. In the beginning, you will have to create the resources you want to share within any ed-tech platform. But once created, you will have them at your disposition for the coming years. It will seem like intensive labor early on, creating, learning and adapting to any ed-tech platform, but dividends will pay off long term.
Long Lasting Implementation
Some issues I have noticed that have risen in the past with schools that have tried applying ed-tech is the short-term implementation. Ed-tech companies would come to schools, do a couple of hours of training on the platform, and that was it. The expectation was to use the technology the next day in class like a champ. Partner yourself with a platform that makes itself available 24/7. I have worked with services that do an amazing job and others that don’t. It needs to go past simply being able to “chat” on their site. Less automized and more of a white glove service needs to be provided when an educator reaches out with questions. I would also encourage multiple sessions of classroom modeling utilizing the platform. The real world and hands-on leaves a lasting impression. The quicker teachers feel comfortable with the program, the sooner they will be efficient.
I have dealt with administrators who have a great game plan for technology in the classroom and others throwing it to the teachers without a clear vision. The most common issue I see with technology in the classroom are teachers being overwhelmed with the number of programs they are being asked to use. Principals are throwing multiple programs to teachers and not explaining the goals and expectations of these programs. Essentially, principals are giving more work to teachers when they have to learn to use 5 to 10 different platforms daily. I have noticed when educators are consumed by too much tech they become less productive and completely stop using it saying “What’s the point!”
Technology (hardware and software) has helped me tremendously throughout my teaching career when used with fidelity. I have seen it succeed in schools which entail learning gains for students and reduced workload for educators. The prelude to a success story though, in my opinion, must include being patient at first to learn a program and reap the benefits, have a great partnership with the ed tech provider, and a strategy in place.