Tech-ing the Next Step: Part 2 - Teachers

Tech-ing Chances: How Education Technology Can Uplift Teachers

Any conversation about technology and its transformational impact on learning is incomplete without taking educators - the facilitators of learning - into account. In this part of our blog series, we look at how widespread tech has helped evolve the role of the teacher and why this has led to an exciting turning point in the world of education. We also touch upon the ongoing support teachers require for that evolution and a handful of tips that can be valuable along the way.

The traditional, age-old definition of teaching viewed the teacher as a storehouse of information, a repository of answers - a ‘sage on the stage’. When technology made it possible to answer questions in a matter of seconds, this definition no longer applied. 

But it ushered a new era in education and an opportunity for teachers to take on a new, more valuable role: being an activator of knowledge, a ‘guide by the side’.

Education technology might be a tool with immense potential, but it needs adept hands to wield it. Today, the world of education needs teachers more than ever to maximize technology’s potential and work with students to re-invent the learning experience and explore never-seen-before learning opportunities.

But educators can’t do it alone. To be an effective guide for learners in this new tech-aligned era, teachers need guidance themselves first. Here is a look at four pointers that can help teachers get there:

  • Tackling Tech Hesitation

Where there is change, there is hesitation - and for understandable reasons, too. With education technology advancing at a near-unmatchable pace, the people most often left scrambling to keep up are educators. Add to that the looming fear of being ‘replaced by the machines’, and it is easy enough to see the root of the issue.

To help teachers settle comfortably into their evolving roles, schools must ensure that there is open and clear communication that addresses common questions and fears about tech tools and their applications: How do these tools help rather than hurt educators? How do they free teachers up from redundant tasks? How do they support and enhance teaching styles rather than stifle them?

  • Promoting Teacher Autonomy

In order to embrace edtech tools, teachers need to be more than just familiarized and informed about them - they also need to be given the freedom to adopt technology in their own unique ways.

A relevant example of this principle at work is the Finnish education system whereby teachers have the autonomy to select and try out technological tools and resources in ways that best align with their styles and objectives. The tools are then further self-evaluated by the students themselves, ensuring that the classroom features technology that best suits everyone’s needs.

  • Valuing Teacher Feedback

While much emphasis is placed on teacher training, not nearly enough is placed on following through or hearing the other side of the story. If the future of the teaching profession is to be intertwined with technology, the voices and opinions of teachers are an indispensable resource to help improve and perfect that technology.

It is essential for schools to work directly with educators, offer continual support, and turn to them for answers to important questions about the experience, ease of use, accessibility, and possible downsides of the technology that they are applying in the classrooms.

  • Tips on Teaching with Tech

When educators are adequately supported, encouraged, and provided with the resources they need to transition into their new roles, these three considerations can be a great place to start for teaching in tech-optimized ways:

1.Focus on learning goals

Much like the approach we recommended for school leaders in Part 1, educators can benefit from establishing clear, curriculum-based learning goals before delving into the tech aspect of teaching. In this way, teachers are better equipped to look for specific features and functions in the tools they use and establish clear tech-based standards for tracking student progress.

2. Start with the familiar

When introducing tech into the classroom, teachers might also find it helpful to start off with the simplest and most well-known tools first. These tools and their sense of familiarity can help ease the transition into more advanced and cutting-edge digital resources, for both students and educators.

3. Students always come first

Teaching with technology should be all about enhancing the learning experience but only when the best interests of learners are being prioritized. For teachers, this means ensuring that students are well-engaged with edtech resources (while enforcing screen time limitations), fostering social skills, and promoting digital wellbeing in the classroom.

Our technology blog series ‘Tech-ing the Next Step’ is written based on insight gathered from interviews with some of our education team members: Stephen Cox (Chief Education Officer), Christopher Petrie (Director of Digital Learning), and Laura Luomanen-Jaakkola (Director of Professional Development).

Learn more about our Nordic Learning Platform - an all-in-one, simple to use solution that integrates everything needed for personalized, online, and face-to-face learning.


New Nordic Schools Partners with Boundless Life to Bring Finnish Education to Traveling Families