Can you be an outstanding classroom teacher these days without outstanding technology skills? Sara, Essex

10th August 2007 at 01:00
A I'm not convinced you need to be outstanding at technology to be considered an outstanding practitioner. For a start, it depends what you teach. There are lots of subjects in the secondary school curriculum in which it is pretty marginal PE, for example.

Then there's the matter of "hiding behind the technology", which some teachers do to avoid real interaction with pupils. An outstanding teacher will know when not to use technology.

Pat, Brighton

A What a good question, and one which many of us have to confront. This isn't just an issue of "I don't do technology" but of integrating available resources into your teaching strategies.

That is to say, we don't use technology for the sake of it but where the learners' needs require it. If there is an opportunity to enhance learning by using available technology and you choose not to do so, then you cannot be an outstanding teacher. After all, this is 2007, not 1967.

John, Worthing

A If we look at the Ofsted criteria for ranking lessons as outstanding, I think we'd find inspectors take into account the integration of available and appropriate technology along with the proficiency of its use.

In other words, you will not be rated outstanding if there is technology that could be used or better used. Optimal use would be one component of an outstanding lesson.

For those of us with technophobic tendencies, this might not be great news.

But I suppose it is only the modern equivalent to using the blackboard appropriately and no one would gripe at that, surely?

Richard, West Sussex

A I think many poor teachers over-use technology and see it as a panacea. But that, of course, is not the question. The fundamental part of outstanding teaching has remained pretty constant regardless of the relentless march of technology: the ability to inspire learning.

That is not to say one has to be a Luddite. I believe you can still be average with your technology skills and remain an outstanding teacher

Rod, Middlesex

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