by Steve Martin
Expert Educator Columnist, New Zealand
Educators strive to have the greatest impact on their students so they can go on to lead successful lives. This is the purpose that motivates all involved in education, however as anybody knows this purpose can be obscured by the challenges that educators face in and out of the classroom. In the modern education system knowledge of digital technology has joined the knowledge of pedagogy and of content as an aspect of how educators prepare students for their futures. Educators continually seek to make improvements in their pedagogy and content and because they are trained and passionate about their subjects they are well equipped to assimilate new knowledge into their practice.
In order for educators to begin to explore the use of digital technologies in their teaching they have to master skills that will allow them to pass from focussing on the mechanics of using the technology to how it will change their fundamental pedagogy. A change that can lead to enriched and enhanced opportunities for their learners that is focused on competencies, such as citizenship and collaboration. Educators that need to master fundamental digital skills can be overwhelmed by the huge variety of digital tools that can be used in the education of students. These tools can be perceived as falling from a digital sky, each independent and unique, and as exposure to digital tools increases so does the downpour. Those educators such as those recently recognised by Microsoft as Innovative Expert Educators know how to capture these tools and create something that is awe-inspiring. The lesson to learn by educators thinking about using digital technology for the first time or those in the early stages of mastery is that ‘there can be no rainbows without rain’.
This blog will chronicle the journey of a group of teachers in the Howick College Science Department as they develop their knowledge of digital technology and how it influences the way they teach. The thinking and strategies used in the support of these teachers will be shared, as well as the amazing ‘rainbows’ they produce as they develop their digital pedagogy.