Teaching Innovation: The 30 Goals Challenge

Incorporating technology into classroom curricula is important toward preparing students for our super-connected world. But some teachers are intimidated by the idea of integrating smart devices, social media and other tech tools with learning. The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators is intended to help. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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A Generational Divide

Today's students are are more plugged in than any previous generation of youth. Children of all ages use cell phones, participate in social networks and even oversee their own tech startups. Because they've grown up with technology ever-present in their lives, youth are often very comfortable using the sophisticated electronic devices that dominate our world.

Many teachers, on the other hand, came of age in a time before innovations like the Internet were ubiquitous in everyday life. While younger teachers often feel comfortable incorporating smart devices and Web 2.0 tools into curricula, many older education professionals are intimidated by the idea of integrating technology and learning.

Crucial for Student Success

A growing body of research suggests that teachers who fail to stay with the times are missing out on vital opportunities to engage young people in learning. Studies have repeatedly shown that students are more interested in schoolwork when it incorporates the use of computer applications, the Internet and other electronic media.

Technology in the classroom can do much more, though, than increase student engagement; it has been shown to actually improve understanding in content areas when well-designed lessons incorporating tech tools are used. That's not to mention the importance of providing students with computer and multimedia skills they'll need to compete in the 21st century job market.

A Technology Challenge

Educator Shelly Terrell understands the trepidation that many teachers feel about incorporating technology into the classroom. The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators is a project she's devised to help some of these professionals overcome their fears. The 30-day initiative is designed to nudge teachers toward using blogging, vlogging, podcasting, apps and social networking for educational purposes.

An important focus of the 30 Goals Challenge is providing support for teachers who may have questions about using various forms of technology in the classroom. Individuals are encouraged to share questions and concerns with the community of participating colleagues - currently about 4,600 strong. The challenge extends through this month; learn how you can get involved by visiting Shelly Terrell's Teacher Reboot Camp.

Want more on how to improve your teaching? Check out these 10 top teacher blogs.

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