I was amazed recently to hear teachers talking about “the need for good technology training” in their school. That is not the amazing part; what amazed me was when I asked, “what do you mean?” The response was, “you know using Google to find stuff for a good slide show.”
The conversation made me think of a brief section I included in my 2015 book on “Basic Operations of Technology.” I excerpt it here:
Early in the history of educational computing, most educators had little or no previous experience with computer technology. As a result, much teacher training focused on basic operations such launching applications, creating and editing documents, and saving and printing. Basic operations continued to be a focus of professional development as increasingly complex applications became available and as the Internet arrived in schools and communities.
Now that ICT has been available and gained widespread use for decades, it seems reasonable to expect that anyone who seeks to work as a professional in education will arrive in the classroom with skill and knowledge in basic computer operations. Further, they should arrive with the ability to adapt to new models of computers, and with a general awareness of how computers function and how to create documents and navigate networks.
The only situation in which professional development in basic computer operation seems appropriate for educators is when new systems that provide specialized functions (such a grade books) are obtained and the use of these systems is a condition of employment. Otherwise, educators can and should assume responsibility for being able to use (or quickly learn to use) operating systems, productivity software, and Internet-based information sources. Updates and simple changes to the interface should cause little consternation to educators in the 21st century.