Teaching IT to students can be a real challenge. We should know. Here at 30 Bird that’s what we do best. Drawing from our own experience, we have compiled some fantastic advice on how you can stay on top of your teaching game.
Here are five easy ways to get current and stay that way!
1. Talk to Your Colleagues
It’s important to confer with your colleagues if you want to do your best. Bouncing ideas off of other teachers and instructors is a surefire way to improve your efficacy in the classroom. Sharing your difficulties can help you find unexpected solutions that you might never have thought of on your own.
To get the greatest benefits from collaboration, don’t just limit yourself to connecting with other teachers or instructors. Meeting with IT professionals and discussing the latest developments in the field is a great way to stay up to date on IT classroom material. Talking about your lesson plans with other people who are using IT will help you to gauge how current and effective your classroom material is.
Networking with other people in IT is easier than ever in the age of LinkedIn and Facebook. Take the time to develop a support system of people that can help you stay ahead of the latest changes in tech.
2. Check in on Social Media
Social media is great for finding new ideas and staying on top of tech advancements. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any number of other platforms, you can plug into the latest in the tech field without much effort at all.
Keeping up with change is important in any profession, but in IT, it’s even more urgent. IT is different from other fields in how fast it moves.
On any given day, dozens of updates, patches, and fixes are handed down from software companies to the consumer. Directly in the middle of this interaction falls the IT professional. Often, it is up to them to implement changes rapidly and competently.
The pace of change is what sets IT apart from other fields, but it’s also what makes it so interesting. As an IT educator, it’s your job to prepare your students or employees to handle such a dynamic job. How can you do that if you’re not up to date yourself?
Curating a social media feed that is both useful and enjoyable might take a little time, but ultimately, you will end up with easy access to the latest news in the industry. Bringing contemporary resources into your life is an easy step toward keeping your classroom fresh and up-to-date.
3. Start Reading Blogs
Because of the online nature of the profession, IT has a lot of great blogs. That makes keeping up with tech easier than ever.
There are many different kinds of IT blogs. They range from personable blogs by individual bloggers to professionally edited pieces on popular tech websites. There’s something for everyone.
Get started by checking out these sites:
- CNET — Offers full coverage of IT news and updates.
- Information Week— Covers all aspects of IT from a variety of individual perspectives.
- Tech Republic— IT news and features tailored for businesses and professionals.
- IT Pro Guru— Targeted advice for IT executives and engineers.
- Krebs on Security— IT blogs with an emphasis on security.
4. Continuing Education
When you stop learning, you stop growing. If you’re not careful, your complacency will translate into poor classroom results. By staying on top of your own education, you will be able to give your students a better chance to succeed.
In IT, keeping up with changes on a daily basis is important. However, there’s another level of continual learning that is required. This is where continuing education comes in. Taking courses or seminars can help you put all of the day-to-day changes into a larger perspective. Understanding the big picture will allow you to explain it to your students in turn.
Don’t get so bogged down in small changes that you forget to learn about the big ones. Keep your thinking sharp by taking on new challenges. Your own self-improvement will flow down to improve the quality of your students’ education.
5. Keep It Fresh
All educators have faced the same problem at some time in their careers: how to keep a course fresh and interesting after teaching it year after year. Getting bored of your classroom material is normal. It happens to everyone. After doing something for a long time—even if you’re doing it really well—it loses its shine.
When you lose interest, students can tell. When instructors are bored, students are bored. That’s no way to inspire great learning. Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of a shakeup.
Sure, your lesson plans are tried and true, but there’s always something you can improve on. Get in there and rethink what you’re teaching, how you’re teaching it, and, most importantly, why you’re teaching it. You’ll come away with a new sense of purpose that will translate into fire in the classroom.
Bring in new examples, new stories, and reframe old lessons in new ways. It takes a little bit of extra work, but the results will be worth it. Set yourself the goal of revamping your lesson plans every year in order to avoid the classroom doldrums.
As you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to staying on top of tech changes. What is NOT an option is being complacent.
At 30 Bird, we want students to have the best education possible. Do your part by keeping your lesson plans current and interesting.