Should the education department not take responsibility for technology training of teachers?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 | technology

An essential part of professional development of teachers is learning to use technology.

Education departments should take responsibility for the professional development of teachers but teachers must also take ownership of their own growth – it is generally accepted that this is a shared responsibility.  You can rightly look to your education department to provide some support when you want to learn how to use technology as a teaching tool.

The situation in different districts, provinces and countries is poles apart when it comes to technology support for teachers.  In some cases adequate provision is made and in others little – or none – is made.  Your first step must be to explore what is on offer to you.  You may find that one or more of the following are available to you: 

  • formal training courses
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • mentoring or coaching.

These services are usually offered to you at no cost and time is allowed for you to make use of them.  When an education authority supports the technology aspect of your personal development the chances are good that the backing offered will be classroom oriented.  This is a good thing, since training offered by non-education institutions is often generic and may not have any bearing on what you do in the classroom.

A down-side of education department training is that a one-size-fits-all approach is usually adopted.  You may find yourself in a group where people have different levels of technology expertise.  If you are a novice, you may feel intimidated if the training is pitched at too high a level; if you come to the event with some expertise, you may feel frustrated if too much time is spent on basics.

Don’t wait for your education authority to urge you to make use of what is on offer.  Find out if such training opportunities exist and then take advantage of them.  If they don’t exist, don’t sit around complaining while you wait – you will only make yourself unhappy, you won’t learn anything, and you may wait for a long time.  Take personal responsibility for your technology development by exploring alternative ways to become proficient.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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8 Comments to Should the education department not take responsibility for technology training of teachers?

Dereck Marnewick
Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

The one role the Education Department should play is to ensure that the schools have sufficient funding allocated for training in the use of ICT. The actual training should be offered by the vendors supplying the services and or products.

The Education Department should also create an expectation and or requirement for teachers to be skilled in the use of ICT.

Finally the Education Department should engage with the vendors to ensure that the required training and support is available. This could even be accredited by the Department.

John Thole
Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

Yes, it is wise and advisable for teachers to consider how they wish to maintain their skills and also to further develop their knowledge, experience and skills in the world of emerging educational technologies. One effective way of doing this is for educators to find some colleagues and other partners to start a community of practise which has an area common to them all. This will enable knowledge sharing, access to new ideas and technologies, improved awareness of emerging strategies and tools.

[...] Should the education department not take responsibility for … [...]

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

All I want to add is that …. ICT should be maintained @ schools for teachers / educators (and learners)…. and if not …. the Education Department can be sure that they will “fail” the schools, their educators / teachers and learners and their future prospects of being ICT literate.

Education Departments should make it their PRIORITY to ensure that ALL educators should at least have a basic concept of technology.

Lastly, technology, especially digital technology, like computers and EAIWB, are constantly being UPDATED + UPGRADED …. thus educators should be encourage (and be supported) to be ICT LIFE-LONG “LEARNERS”.

Albie 2020 and beyond

Thursday, 25 November, 2010

The Education Department should be one of the most important stakeholders in ensuring streamlining the use of technology at schools.
More than ever the emphasis should be on communicating and sharing of information electronically, rather than the use of hardcopies of information.
For example, electronic use of mark schedules (instead of using paper and pen); collective preparation and sharing of exam question papers (online); etc.
The Education Department should encourage it and be a leading example of such practices.

Travis Noakes
Sunday, 28 November, 2010

Pilot research* suggests that educators at an elite, private school do not have access to the time, money, training and other resources needed to include ICT proficiency (especially web2.0+) in curricula {by extension, the challenges facing public school educators would be far greater!}.

Given these resource constraints, it is important that South Africa’s secondary schools’ educational leadership acknowledges the significant obstacles educators’ face in being able to take advantage of technology training. While individual educators must show initiative, research is likely to show that very few actually can take advantage of technology training.

It is far more important that the DOE supports research and policy-development to facilitate educators’ co-responsibility. For example, by addressing two major systemic problems in Secondary School education (1. educators’ workloads leave little time for ICT skills training and 2. there are no external incentives for school’s to prioritize technology training), the DOE could make major progress in enabling educators to take co-responsibility.

* Please view for further background.

Kobus van Wyk
Sunday, 28 November, 2010

Travis, the points you make are so valid! We still have a long way to go to convince education authorities of the needed changes … but we must continue trying. I believe it must both be a top-down and bottom-up approach.

Mark C
Wednesday, 1 December, 2010

My experience with training is (in general):
a) the time factor for training. It is extremely limited,
b) communication between various stakeholders is at best poor.
c) teachers do not want to be trained by peers.
d) teachers do not (always) like departmental officials training them. Many say that they learn nothing new (and that may include us). CA’ s are not good trainers (not my words, but taking observations of teachers)
e) teachers do make time to do outside training/studying that counts e.g (ACE, BEdHons, MEd etc). If there is no certificate attached, it’s not important. Obviously, a university degree counts for much more than attending a reading-program or ICT training.
f)teachers do like social networks such as Facebook and this should be exploited in some way. I think Kathy of Radicallearning did a good thing with Twitter. Other Social Network devices should be explored. I think that formal courses together with Social Networking would go along way in getting educators to a point of using ICT in many aspects of education.

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