The US government has allocated over $200 million in 2016 for Educational Technology State Grants to help ensure teachers and leaders have the skills and resources to effectively incorporate technology in the curricula to improve student achievement (http://tech.ed.gov/eett/). Educational Technology (or its pseudonyms edtech, edutech, even instructional technology) is the new paradigm shift for educators in all industries. Education and corporate institutions are now relying on instructional designers and trainers to provide their employees with the tools and job-embedded training needed to reach specific goals.
The ideology behind educational technology has evolved over the last 13 years. There are countless tools (software and hardware) available to do just about anything. Most are accessible to the general public, many for a fee. With so many resources, one would think that using technology is easy, but with many digital immigrants existing today and the unrelenting advancement of technology, the need for effective training is necessary.
Differentiated Teaching and Learning
As educators in K-12 environments discovered, one size or a particular instructional process doesn’t necessarily fit all, especially when the diversity of students in a single classroom includes special education, gifted, free or reduced lunch candidate, auditory learner, visual learner, ADD, ADHD just to name a few. Students now shy away from the lecture instructional model and gravitate towards interactive or constructive learning. Differentiated or student-centered learning permeates the rooms of todays’ successful schools. School administrators and theorists alike praise teachers who can effectively tailor traditional learning through the use of technology to meet individual learning needs.
Educational technology has always highlighted technologies, which connected teaching and learning. At times, this connection reached beyond the walls of the classroom. Distance learning was merely a pricey learning option in the 90s. It took to the form of bulky camera equipment and heavy projection screens. It was as distant as the city Hum, Croatia is to the city Buford, Wyoming…very difficult to connect to and rarely visited.
Today, the long distance issue is nonexistent with the rise of affordable social media. Synchronous and asynchronous modalities are regularly practiced by all. Its appearance ranges from text messages or email to live audio or video streaming. Social networking, therefore, is the norm and pervades the existence of educational technology. Distance learning of today truly epitomizes connecting to learn “anytime, anywhere.”
Learning to Train
Train the trainer model encourages the mastery of learning resources and specific processes to be used to facilitate effective teaching. It surpasses simply learning technical skills, used in isolation of the content and/or real world experiences. Educational technology is a viable approach where seamless technology integration is now an expected part of the educational framework, whether at an educational institution or corporate setting.
Through connected teaching and learning, professionals are supported individually and in groups to empower them to become data analyzers, content experts as well as resource creators and curators to provide more effective teaching to other learners. Who trains educators and other professionals in the area of seamless technology integration? Educators and other professionals train each other. In fact, educators learn to train and train to help others learn. Following the train the trainer model, educators are now using their knowledge to gain access to the world of online entrepreneurship.
Teacher Entrepreneurs…Why Not?
For years, teachers have been sharing their resources with other teachers. Today, these resources are becoming prized commodities. Various educational sites exist so that teachers can network with other teachers to sell and buy relevant classroom resources. This business has been extremely lucrative for teachers. The moonlighting is now easier for teachers to maintain since they are selling items they would normally create for their students any way. They make up the vast majority of instructional designers of today.
Additionally, tutoring and training positions are in high demand, specifically in the area of technology integration. Educators, other professionals, and even collegians seek to learn how to effectively use the resources they acquired to reach specific job-embedded, personal, or educational goals. With limited time, individuals pursue online education opportunities. Online teaching and learning is becoming the face of education. Education is no longer confined to the brick-n-mortar environment. Online education represents on demand and just-in-time learning, anytime, anywhere accessibility, and customized learning.
EduTech Advisor is an online venue for online education seekers and trainers. This online tutoring and training marketplace, made by an educator, allows adult learners to enhance their knowledge and make money in the same environment. Want to know how to reap benefits from this type of environment? Become a member with EduTech Advisor. Click here to find out more about the marketplace.