Online Platforms and Technology For Older Teachers
To successfully implement online learning during a pandemic, teachers have found innovative solutions to conduct classes and discussions through the help of technology and online platforms. But while technology has been the key to implement online learning, this also imposed several challenges to a particular demographic of teachers — older teachers.
Technology integration in the classroom has been progressing even before the pandemic. But with the sudden shift to online learning, technology has introduced other challenges to the older age group of the teaching force.
While most teachers have used technology and online platforms to their advantage, older teachers have found difficulties in dealing with technology.
“Setting up a Zoom meeting is easy. It’s just a click away.”
“This online learning tool is easier to use than the other one!”
“This tool has a whiteboard feature you can use during discussions.”
True, these tasks sound easy and no different from what you usually do when you’re frequently using online platforms, but this isn’t always the case.
For tech-savvy teachers, these are just trivial tasks that can be dealt with in no time but for older teachers, these tasks take more time and effort as there are several things to figure out first before actually starting a class. What used to be trivial and minor now plays a critical role in delivering quality learning experience.
That sounds tough, right?
Surveys have concluded how older teachers encounter more difficulties in using an online platform and figuring out how they work compared to redefining courses and improving their teaching approach. There are also cases where some teachers refuse to use technology in delivering their courses as they believe that it is not the right solution and could potentially cause more harm to the students.
Without any preparation and knowledge on how to use online platforms and technology, some teachers will find it hard to deal with setbacks and harbor a negative outlook when it comes to technology later on.
There is no doubt that technology has provided different solutions to improve communication and both learning and teaching experience, but it can’t also be denied that it is intimidating, especially to those who use it less.
And as online learning systems continue to improve, older teachers will definitely encounter new challenges along the way. However, these challenges can be addressed with the right help in hand.
“What can I do to overcome these challenges?”
Just as technology offers you different solutions to your teaching struggles, there are also different ways to address the challenges that you encounter with technology.
1. Online tutorials and tips
Having a hard time figuring out how to use a platform or a learning tool? Don’t worry! There are online tutorials in the internet that would help you go through the tool and learn how it works. Online platforms would often offer video tutorials on how they work and what to do with the features. The internet is an ocean of information and you can find a tutorial or two with simple search keywords.
2. Tap your students for help
Believe it or not, no one is more tech-savvy than your students. If you are having a hard time and don’t know how a certain feature works, you can tap your students for help and ask them how you can proceed. At some point, your students have already figured out how online platforms work and could guide you how to use it.
And there is no harm in asking! At the end of the day, you are not only overcoming a challenge but also building a better relationship and trust with your students.
3. Get in touch with other teachers and ask for advise
Collaboration has moved mountains — if you get what that means. Your co-teachers can help you answer your questions and give you advises on how and which learning tool you can use for your class. More than ever, teachers should be helping each other during this critical time and be the support each needs to successfully establish a positive learning environment.
4. Ask for feedback from your class
How do you know if you are doing it right? Ask your students for their feedback.
As you are now closely working with your students, ask their opinions on how you’re doing with the class and if they have suggestions that you can consider. This way, not only you are learning and improving your approach, you are giving your students a chance to speak and voice out their opinions which contributes to a positive and empowered learning environment.
5. Do your research
The internet may pose harm and can be quite intimidating, however, it is also an outlet of information and ideas. You may receive help and support from your colleagues and students, but your own research won’t hurt.
Information is power! Do your own research and educate yourself with the other possibilities that you can use to teach effectively.
Technology and online platforms have developed online learning systems and continue to offer solutions and possibilities to further improve how a teacher delivers a course and how a student can learn in an online learning environment.
Teachers will face new challenges along the way and these challenges could be technology related.
Technology is powerful and it is up to you on how you’ll make use of it — will it be a solution or a difficult challenge?
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