Perceptions of Teacher Technology Skills
I have written about the concept of digital natives in previous posts. My assertion was that although sound in concept, the term digital native could raise some misperceptions. I have met many people for whom English is a second language who speak the language very fluently and competently. I have also met many who grew up with English as their primary, or native, language who have difficulty with speaking or writing properly. I say this, because it illustrates that being a native to something like a particular language or technology does not inherently mean that someone is competent or proficient with it.
The perception that digital natives are inherently good with technology can be intimidating to those teachers considering the use of technology in their lessons for the first time. One concern is that the teacher will be out matched by the technology that their students are more familiar with due to their digital native status. After all, technology changes so quickly. However, it is this rapid rate of change in technology that helps teachers keep up.
The fact that available technologies are always evolving and being updated levels the playing field because all parties need to keep up with the proper use of the chosen technology. This includes the students. For example, there are several technology choices for presentations. These choices include PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Prezi. The list does not end here, and it continues to grow.
Whereas technologies evolve and change, the associated skills and tasks do not. The principles behind the process of researching a topic, putting it into a proper program like PowerPoint, and presenting it to others are still the same. Unfortunately, many students lack the skills needed to complete these tasks effectively. There is a clear connection between these needs and their appearance in the Common Core State Standards. An effective teacher will be able to identify these needs in their students and use the appropriate technologies for working on the skills with their students. The chosen technology is only a tool for working with students to build these skills. Most teachers can learn how to use the technologies with the aid of an effective district professional development program. To do so, they need to be willing to try new things and experiment a little.