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How to be a Tech Mentor

If tech is your thing, you likely know about the weekly #edchat on #Teacher Tuesday that takes place on Twitter. This week’s #edchat focused on technology. While the topic was whether or not it is possible for teachers to make the wrong choices when using tech in the classroom, many of the contributors focused on […]

If tech is your thing, you likely know about the weekly #edchat on #Teacher Tuesday that takes place on Twitter. This week’s #edchat focused on technology. While the topic was whether or not it is possible for teachers to make the wrong choices when using tech in the classroom, many of the contributors focused on the importance of embracing technology.

As #edchat regular @Cybraryman noted very plainly, tweechers already do embrace technology. The real question is how to convince teachers who are nervous, fearful, or downright against using technology that the next generation of learners are of a different breed.Taking time to be a “tech mentor” may be the answer.

Here are 7 ways to become a tech mentor in your school

1. Write (or share) “How To” Blog Posts: There are so many great teachers already doing this, but your colleagues may be more willing to read a “how to” guide if it comes straight from you. If you don’t have a blog join MyEC and get started by adding your own “How to use Twitter” or “How to use Glogster” posts and sharing them with your colleagues.

2. Share your Twitter Lists: You’ve probably already invited your non-techy colleagues to Twitter, so why not take the extra step to make sure they have a strong network to tweet with. Choose at least 25 of your favourite tweechers and share them with your colleagues. If they still don’t get twitter, sit down for ten minutes and explain it person to person. (Or ask them to sit with you for the next #edchat.)

3. Talk about your Class Experiences: If you use a new tool in class, talk about it in the staff room. Don’t be tempted to keep your favourites to yourself. On the other hand, it’s useful to share your flops as well. If your students struggle with a certain technology or you find it to be more time consuming than worthy, take the time to explain why you don’t recommend it. Even though you love technology, don’t discount the power of word-of-mouth.

4. Invite Teachers to Observe: Many teachers hate being observed by administrators. The story is different when it’s on their own terms. Invite a colleague to sit in on a class when students are using their favourite learning tool.

5. Share Student Evaluations: Ask your students to fill out evaluation forms about technology that is used in the classroom. Read their feedback out loud so that your colleagues can see how receptive students are to tech.

6. Create a Tech Billboard: Some teachers avoid technology because they really don’t know where to start. You may need to mentor them on their own level, by creating a print presentation of your favourite educational tools. Print out a copy of a “how to” blog or tech review and post it on a “Tech billboard” in the staff room.

7. Email links to videos: Most teachers are at least using email. Sharing links to “how to” videos and presentations about educational tools and technology via email may be more their speed. This video on 21st Century Learners may be enough to convince your toughest tech skeptic. After you watch the video, consider this companion video on becoming a 21st century teacher.

If tech isn’t your thing, but you know you need to embrace it, look for a teacher who is willing to mentor you. Most importantly , don’t feel bad if your young students know more than you about tools and technology. They are growing up in the digital age. You didn’t. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCrhbgzf4Ys[/youtube]

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | March 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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