This article started out as the top ten skills needed to use technology effectively, but as I wrote the list, I realized that technology shouldn't be separated out. As we proclaim that technology is a tool, we also shouldn't single it out when talking about what skills it takes to educate. The following list has a few items that are somewhat related to technology, the others are what I view as important skills any teacher needs to have if they want to succeed. Successful teachers will not find any surprises in this list.
1. mastery of your subject - If you don't know your subject, your students will learn that rather quickly. You must know what you're teaching, backwards and forwards. There are no shortcuts here. If you cannot answer a student's question, use your searching skills to find the answer as quickly as possible.
2. classroom management - Whether it's your morning math meeting or working in small groups, you will not have a successful class if you cannot manage it.
3. Your students don't know as much as you think they do, and you know more then they think you do - There are a few phrases that have gained some popularity in the past couple of years that I disagree with. The impression that teachers are digital immigrants and students are digital natives is an incorrect assumption. Most students do not know as much as their teachers when it comes to using technology. And teachers do know more about technology then they realize. The personal computer is over 30 years old, for a majority of teachers this is longer then their teaching career. They've seen how technology has changed some classrooms, and can leverage that experience in their own classroom.
4. Ability to punt - Your day to day classroom will probably never work exactly as you pictured it in your mind, and your ability to punt and do something different is imperative. Supplies for a science experiment hasn't arrived? Prepare to punt. Internet access down? Punt!
5. Keeping an open mind - "Those who say it can't be done, are usually interrupted by someone doing it"
6. Understand cheap, fast or easy, pick any two - This is a phrase I use when talking to administrators when they wonder why something isn't working the way they thought it should. The phrase basically means, you can only two out of the three items. For example, if you want it cheap and easy, it's not going to be fast. Or if you want it fast and easy, it isn't going to be cheap.
7. Know how to search - Learn the shortcuts for how to include and exclude search terms. Find out how to search for a particular filetype. If you need a presentation on the water cycle, learn how to search for one (with google use "filetype:ppt" as a search term).
8. Embracing life-long learning - Anything you learn today will be out of date before you retire. We don't have to sharpen our quills anymore, or learn how to make dittos. Be prepared to learn every day.
9. Creating a personal learning network - Seek out like minded teachers as yourself. Email them, follow their blog, follow them on Twitter. Create your own blog and Twitter account. Learn to share.
10. Owning a home computer - I am totally surprised at the number of teachers that do not own a home computer. The new netbooks are priced at under \$400 and desktops around the same price, so price isn't much of an obstacle. If you can't afford to buy, check out your local Freecycle or Craigslist for people looking at getting rid of older computers.
Anything I missed?
[when asked whether or not they would continue with the technologies they learned this semester, DMP students had this to say]: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2531/4150956463_31586f2a02_t.jpg [![when asked whether or not they would continue with the technologies they learned this semester, DMP students had this to say]]: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4150956463/ "when asked whether or not they would continue with the technologies they learned this semester, DMP students had this to say" : http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ "Attribution-ShareAlike License"