Believe it or not, there are some people who — for various reasons — do not race to a computer during a break or when arriving home from work. However, it is important for teachers to find a way to put your personal feelings about computing and technology aside to make sure your students receive the proper technological exposure as they advance through their education. Scholastic recently conducted a survey to determine what percentage of teachers and students feel they spend enough time using computers. 75 percent of teachers reported that they use computers “often” while only 40 percent of students reported that they “often” use their classroom’s technology. If you are starting to feel as if you need to bridge these widely varying perceptions, you are not alone. Many modern teachers need to embrace technology to help their students. Are You Beginning to Feel Pressure to Incorporate More Technology Into Your Lessons? As a devoted teacher, you might wonder why your school administration team is increasingly requesting that teachers incorporate more time for technology into your lesson plans. Edutopia notes that technology is everywhere, and its ubiquity will only grow in the coming years. At the very least, students need to have a working knowledge of how to operate a computer, tablet or printer to properly advance throughout their educational career; and further, once they enter the college and the work force. Most school administrators are increasingly receiving pressure from school districts and parents to make sure students are learning the rudimentary technological skills they will need to compete and excel in our ever-evolving and highly complex world. How Can You Become More Comfortable Using Technology in Your Classroom to Help Your Students? The best way you can gain confidence using technology in your classroom is by practicing using it on your own, but you might need some additional help. Talk to your school’s administration about some of the following ideas to prepare you to add more technology to your student’s itinerary. • Search for Online Training and Professional Development Courses. Schedule training courses to build your knowledge base. As educators begin to embrace the idea of adopting 3D printing, they need expert training to gain confidence to help their students learn the technology’s basic capabilities quickly. Inside 3DP provides a list of stellar initiatives that come packed with resources, such as equipment and training. Projects like MAKE.DIGITAL provide educators with printers, printer software, and tutorials and applications. 3D Printer World focuses on National University’s Joan Horvath’s mission to develop professional development courses, available online, for educators to help learn the basics of 3D printing and, further, to build their own curriculum around the technology. Education World recommends the Technology Resource Teacher (TRT), which offers teachers one-on-one training and many other resources. • Choose Technology That Is Easy for Everyone to Use. The smaller the learning curve for everyone, the sooner everyone will adapt to this exciting new technology. With that, finding 3D printers that are easy to use is the key to quick acceptance and proficiency. Start your search by looking for 3D technology that has the fewest parts. • Practice Each Lesson Before Class. Like any other uncharted territory in education, you need to test the waters of 3D printing by trying to create the objects you plan to assign your class. If you have problems producing the object, the chances are your students will too. With this strategy, you can call in your IT experts to find out where the problem lies. • Foster a Cooperative Environment Among the IT Team and Colleagues. Your school’s administration team might consider forming a tech support team, populated with teachers who share your discomfort with technology. Your support team will also work with your school’s official IT tech team to smooth out any digital wrinkles. Once you feel some power in numbers, and you all start to recognize how intuitive and forgiving that so much modern technology is, you will probably instantly start to gain confidence. You Don’t Need to Be a Tech Expert to Get the Point Across You do not need to become a techie to effectively add more technology time into your lessons. You simply need to break down any personal barriers you feel, such as fear and anxiety. At School Specialty, we want to offer our support to help you feel comfortable introducing more tech into your lesson plans.