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Les Potter received his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Les has over 45 years in school administration and educational leadership including: Assistant to the Superintendent (...
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Teaching in a Technology World

As we know too well, kids today from almost the time they leave the crib are tech savvy. Kids are glued to their devices and it takes a very entertaining teacher to distract students in the classroom from their phones.  Teaching the old fashion way of stand and deliver is no longer effective. Unfortunately, this is the way many educators still teach. For too many teachers they teach like they were taught, and that could have been many years ago. Also not all teachers embrace using technology in the classroom. Some just do not want to learn. 

Several years ago I was chair of an education department at a college in Florida. Florida as a number of other states desperately need teachers (especially in urban and rural areas). I believe we did a decent job of instructing our “want to be teachers” in classroom technology. However, we still lacked and could not afford the latest in technology for instructional usage. We were able to take “field trips” with our college students to K-12 schools that had the latest in technology.  
A concern that I have is there is such a demand for teachers that many states (Florida included) have devised different pathways to become a teacher. This may get a warm body in the classroom but is this person the best and most up to date with technology educator? In Florida with the need for teachers that reach in the thousands each year the state teacher education colleges can not keep up with demand. So Florida has a program that allows a person with any college degree to get a temporary license for two years. After two years you most pass several state mandated tests and take several college classes in pedagogy to be fully certified.  No teaching experience is required, internships nor education courses. To me, teaching is an art and a science. The science is your content knowledge and the art is the instruction.  Most of the temporary teachers are very fine people with wonderful intentions but still lack the ability to teach. However, if certified teachers nor temporary teachers are not available then districts will use substitutes. In many districts and schools only a high school diploma is required to sub. Some substitutes will work for a day or two or for a full year in a class unless certificated teacher is found.
The dilemma in today’s world is getting all teachers the ability and knowledge on how to teach students with the best way they learn. That is using technology. 
I hope the education departments at colleges continue to incorporate technology into their instruction.  But I worry that thousands of inexperienced temporary teachers are entered classroom unprepared to reach and teach our new age students.
This is where school districts need to step in and provide professional development in technology instruction to teachers who need it. Many schools need to update their own classroom technology but whatever technology is present in the room is probably very strange to a teacher unaccustomed to even a whiteboard. Unfortunately, with shrinking educational dollars, money earmarked for PD may be first to be cut. As educators, we must make PD priority. At a school where I was a principal, district PD was cut so many of our faculty meetings became our teachers teaching other teachers with technology. 
I believe for us to reach and teach today’s students we must use whatever tools they like and feel comfortable with. We must provide all of our teachers with the equipment and training needed to make our schools world class. 
Dr. Les Potter, Education World Contributing Writer
Les has over 45 years in school administration and educational leadership in the US and Egypt including: Dean of a college of education; principal of 7 schools in 4 states; assistant superintendent; and author of 100 publications.