Future Research and Application (Pt. 5 of 5)

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Instructional Technology

One must be acutely aware that this is only the beginning.  As these technologies mature it will be critical to 1) continue the exploration of meaningful strategies for using tablets with pre-service teachers both in the field and within the college classroom to model best practices, 2) enhance professional development experiences for veteran teacher to bridge the digital divide between those whose teacher training utilized this progressive ethic and those whose did not, and 3) maintain a culture where the use of progressive technology is a ubiquitous feature that enhances the overall development of 21st century skills.

As the technologies surrounding tablet and mobile teaching and learning evolve, so too must our notions of what constitutes best practices in these new spaces.  Teacher education programs need to foster an adaptive ethic in their teacher candidates, one that will help new teachers to take in, understand, and retool their practice as the technologies change.  Being an excellent tablet-centered teacher today does not preclude one to being an excellent tablet-centered teacher tomorrow.  The form, function, and intent of these devices will shift rapidly, and so too must the practices of those who choose to implement them into their teaching and learning methods.

Critical to the adoption and successful implementation of tablet-centered methodologies will be the scaling-up of professional development experiences for more veteran teachers (or digital immigrants) to bridge the digital divide between those whose teacher training utilized this progressive tablet-based ethic and those whose did not.  Thankfully, the ubiquitous nature of smartphone technology has bridged this generational gap and has provided authentic experiences for digital immigrants – even if they are not classroom specific.  Instructional technologists and district administrators need to shape professional development experiences around this tacit and common experience and show veteran teachers how these new personal communication paradigms can be successfully implemented into teaching and learning experiences.

Finally, as the use of progressive technology is eventually ubiquitously integrated into the teaching of the core curriculum, it will be important for teachers and teaching candidates not to lose sight of their importance nor engage in their routine use blindly as this could lead to stagnant teaching and learning. Instead they must continue to remain keenly aware of exactly why these processes are in place and to be able to knowledgeably articulate their reasons for continuing the use of certain technologies and/or seeking out newly developed tools that might better enhance their teaching.

In an effort to support 21st century learning and embrace progressive technologies, it has been established that tablet-centered approaches to teaching and learning have become a vital component of modern teacher education. The tablet is an important, and viable genre of educational computing, that sits at the cutting edge of the mobile space in classrooms.  Implementing this type of computing initiative take thoughtful planning and careful implementation at both the course level and within the field. With over 1,000,000 applications, these devices serve as tools that accomplish virtually any teaching and learning objective. Candidates, mentor teachers, field instructors, and students all benefit from the device in different ways, but all important to their respective roles and to the ongoing paradigm shift that is essential for preparing teachers ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of the digital age!

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