Can technology make a teacher more productive?

Sunday, December 26th, 2010 | technology

What does it mean to be productive?  Some shy away from the word because it sounds too much like hard work.  Teachers complain: “How can it be expected of us to produce more?  The education department is overworking us as it is – and now you want us to do even more!”

Does greater productivity necessarily mean working harder?  If you’re not a hard worker then yes, it means you have to work harder.  But if you are already a hard worker it does not mean that you must become an even harder worker.  Think for a moment about the definition of productivity:

Productivity is the amount of output per unit of input, where input may be time, equipment or money – you’ll therefore be more productive if you manage to increase your output, while keeping your input the same.

This tells us that, with the same amount of input – the same time and effort – you can become a more productive teacher.  How?  By increasing the output.  Technology can help you to increase your output with the same amount of input in two ways:

Using tools such as a word processor and a spreadsheet – often called productivity tools – technology will make your admin work easier, quicker and more accurate.  You will be able to spend less time on admin, leaving you more time for other productive work.

In a classroom the output is the amount of learning taking place.  How much do the learners in your class learn?  You know that some teaching sessions may pass with hardly any learning happening while a session of the same duration could be highly productive with a lot of learning takes place.  Technology holds the attention of learners and encourages their involvement – since this increases the potential for learning, your lessons become more productive. 

Productivity means accomplishing more with fewer resources.  Technology may come at a price, but when you experience the ways in which it will help you to increase your output you’ll soon conclude that it is indeed a bargain.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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2 Comments to Can technology make a teacher more productive?

Monika
Sunday, 26 December, 2010

I like this. I plan on sharing it with my own teachers.

Mark C
Sunday, 26 December, 2010

I have always asked my colleagues (facilitators) how long they took to prepare a lesson electronically. Ten minutes, 15 minutes…were the answers. More often than not I found that they have lied about the time taken. They took much longer, even working through the night to get one/two lessons going. I can also back this up by the fact that I have worked with a few colleagues and we always took long to complete one thing, very rarely completing it in the alloted time.

It took me quite long to do one lesson, which may mean that I may not have all the skills/tools/etc. at my disposal. Maybe there is something wrong with the way I work, but I do believe in the following:
(a) pick-and-choose your battles with ICT usage in your lessons. If you can use ready-made things that are appropriate. Don’t necessarily use it for everything unless you define tech as ideas instead of electronic means.
(b) when you pick and choose, try to save the stuff you have done for the next time. Tweak it as the circumstances for next time would have changed in the mean time.
(c) Using tech is not always quicker, nor does it always guarantee better results than using a textbook. Sometimes you have to put in the time to get a good (not a perfect lesson)
(d) don’t lie about how long it took you to prepare a lesson. If it took you long, then say so. Also explain the pitfalls of doing a lesson electronically instead of doing it paper-based or chalk-and-talk.

The importance of a lesson, electronically or otherwise is getting the learners involved in their learning.

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