On Twitter, educator Justin Tarte wrote about technology in education no longer being a luxury but a necessity. Larry and Laurie, the campus Luddites and technophobes will need to retire to make way for the new tech-savvy teachers of tomorrow. Technology will not be for the rich districts; it will be for everyone. Every school will have some form of 1:1 and all teachers and administrators will need to be able to adapt to changing software and technological tools in the future. Good teaching and good pedagogy will still be needed, but we are approaching the science of learning from a different place than when I began teaching. This is a great change.
As I write this post, I have a smile on my face because I just ended a class that included several “woos”, high-fives and screaming! And, no it wasn’t because my heel broke in class and I landed flat on my face (I’ll reserve that story for an APA event so that I can fully act out my embarrassment). The hooting and hollering came from the excitement students had while they played a review game on Quizlet Live. As a teacher, I really enjoy experimenting with new tech tools in my classroom, even if it ends with me cursing under my breath at my computer after school. Through my adventures in experimenting with technology, I have learned a few lessons:
In his pioneering work, Albert Bandura characterised self-efficacy as the individual’s belief in his capacity to execute behaviours necessary to produce specific performance attainments. It reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behaviour, and social environment. As teachers, this is an important element of human behaviour that can be harnessed to optimise students’ learning experience.
A host of research has already demonstrated that self-efficacy appears to be an important variable because it impacts students’ motivation and learning. But what are the factors that teachers should bear in mind to ensure that self-efficacy flourishes in the classroom?
You’ve read the brochures, checked out the shiny pictures, and narrowed down your choices to the programs that work in terms of location and schedule. You’ve visited the building and checked for clean toys and rooms, qualified teachers, and center accreditation. You have the center policies in brightly colored folders, and know the math – teacher/student ratios, and square footage. Somehow, though, there’s still something missing. What is the next step in figuring out where your child should spend their early childhood years? Surely the decision is more than just ratios, square footage, and accreditation.
Teachers usually have their own set of ways to teach their students and make sure that the students are actually learning. Most teachers usually don’t challenge the traditional way of teaching, which can leave some students overwhelmed and confused. When I first started teaching, without even thinking, I constructed courses that looked the same as how they looked when I was in school. Step one: Teach a unit; Step two: Give an in-class exam; Step three: Teach a unit; Step four: Give an in-class exam. Etc. My observation is that a lot of teachers do the same thing. In my own research, however, in-class exams are poor alternatives to something called learner-centered assessments.