Looking for the best ways to use technology to enhance learning? Ask a teacher. The best ideas for integrating technology in the classroom often come from teachers. In their quest to use technology to create amazing learning experiences, these innovative educators take risks, embrace challenges and push themselves to learn new skills.
But these innovators often operate in pockets, while the majority of teachers stick with the status quo out of a perceived lack of expertise and a fear of failure. How can we nudge the tech-wary educators out of their comfort zones?
Help your teachers develop a “growth mindset” about technology. According to Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck, a growth mindset is the belief that talent and ability are not fixed; rather, both can be grown through effort. If we want to see innovation take root in the larger system, we must enable more teachers to adopt a growth-oriented mindset about technology. Here’s how to start:
- Provide professional development aimed at fostering a growth mindset. Show teachers how to reframe their ideas about talent and ability. This Edutopia post has some great ideas.
- Build a culture that celebrates growth. Regularly highlight the efforts of teachers and students who demonstrate a growth mindset.
- Model the behavior you want to see. Create a system that takes risks and embraces challenges. Be transparent about the process.
A growth-oriented school culture won’t take hold overnight. However, by equipping teachers with the knowledge and skills to shift their mindsets, we’ll start to build systems where innovative teaching and learning becomes the new normal.
Andrew Hamilton is a technology integration specialist at Northeast Metro Intermediate District 916, which serves 12 member districts across the northeast metropolitan area of the Twin Cities, Minn. Prior to coming to Minnesota, he served as statewide teacher and technology support coordinator for the Idaho Leads Project at Boise State University, a professional development initiative focused on building leadership capacity and educational technology use across Idaho. Additionally, he taught high school language arts for five years, and remains passionate about creating schools where all students and teachers thrive.
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