A March 2013 survey of Ontario LINC service providers on the role technology plays in their hiring practices indicates IT skills have a large and growing role in determining if a teacher gets hired. Administrators were asked on a scale of 1 – 10, what role does a teacher’s technology skills play in a decision to hire. The answers ranged from 5 to 9.5 and averaged 7.1.
Asked to describe the role IT skills play, administrators responded with answers like, “TESL instructors should have at least basic computer skills and be familiar with CALL.” “Willingness and commitment to invest time and effort in learning the technology that they can teach is important – because not all new hires have the exposure to teach CALL.”
Thirteen of fourteen respondents indicated that they are searching for computer skills among new hires, including familiarity with MS Office, Internet and troubleshooting skills, use of projectors, TV’s and DVD players, and knowing what NOT to use in class. One administrator indicated that she is looking for evidence that teachers embrace technology and are not afraid to try new things.
Seven of the 14 indicated that IT skills play a bigger role in hiring decisions than five years ago. Among the reasons they indicated for the change: “Everything is online”, “Times and technology have changed”, “Society has higher expectations and heavy reliance on technology à the work culture reflects these expectations.” Compared to five years ago, administrators stated that IT is now as important as textbooks, and teachers need to keep in contact with students outside of class.
However, one administrator stated that “…using tech does not replace solid pedagogical methods.” As for predicting what the role of IT will be five years from now, “Technology will not replace teachers, but teachers need to keep up with changes in technology.” And, “Virtual learning is a reality and teachers need to adapt.” One administrator had specific advice for teachers fresh from TESL preparation programs, “Learn technology or be left behind.”
The evaluation team, LearnIT2teach