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Why your school’s 1:1 initiative should include digital literacy training for your teachers

Going 1:1 or BYOD? Don’t forget about digital literacy training for your teaching staff.


As the world moves further into the twenty-first century, school and district leaders are encountering mounting pressure to realign, rethink and reinvent traditional education practices at their schools in order to meet the needs of today’s students – those ubiquitous digital natives.


1:1 (or BYOD) initiatives are by no means a new phenomenon in our schools and districts. However, while many of our classrooms have been transitioning to a 1:1 initiative over the past few years, many education leaders continue to struggle with planning and implementing successful technology rollouts at their schools.


Digital technology is fundamentally changing how teachers teach.


Simply giving each student their own device will not magically result in better learning outcomes – unless you also address their teacher’s digital literacies and competencies. And as a school leader, you play a crucial role in guiding your teachers into the digital age.


Possessing digital skills and being digitally literate are two markedly different things. And as we see time and time again, without the right teacher training, education initiatives have a tendency to crash and burn.


Schools and district leaders who are considering launching or who are currently involved in a 1:1 initiative need to make professional development for their teachers a core component of their rollout plan.


As this Edutopia article argues:


“While individual educators can develop the skills necessary to help students succeed in the new economy, if that capacity does not spread throughout the school, and if the school lacks the tools needed for teachers to effectively instruct in the digital world, ultimately, students will suffer.”


It’s not just about helping your teachers become technically savvy.


Laying the groundwork for a successful 1:1 initiative starts with providing the right training for teachers on the effective use of digital tools and technology. Schools and districts need to implement a solid digital literacy training program that empowers their educators to make the successful transition to a technology-rich classroom environment.


Digital literacy also needs to be a significant element in this process. As digital tools and technology become more and more standard in classrooms, savvy school and district leaders need to recognize that all their teachers can benefit from effective digital literacy training and work proactively to develop a comprehensive technology support and teacher training program for all teaching staff.


As Alan November states, “adding a digital device to the classroom without a fundamental change in the culture of teaching and learning will not lead to significant improvement.”


In the end, 1:1 programs can only be as effective as the teachers leading them on a day-to-day basis.


Implementing 1:1 technology is simply not enough.


Many teachers struggle with their continually evolving role in teaching and using technology in their classrooms as well as how technology is shifting the way their students learn. And without the right digital literacy training, teachers will inevitably struggle with finding meaningful ways to engage students with technology and equip them with the 21st-century skills they will need to be globally competitive citizens.


Before teachers can effectively facilitate the use of a new tool or device in their classroom, they need the training to understand how a particular tool can effectively enhance student learning outcomes. Digital literacy training for your teaching staff is an essential to a successful 1:1 digital initiative.


Teach Away has partnered with Teachers College, Columbia University, to offer an online digital literacy training program for K-8 teachers. Contact us today to find out about volume pricing for your teacher group, school or district!