Dealing With Teacher Interview Questions About Technology

Teacher and student on laptap
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When you are applying for a teaching position, a typical job interview question is "How have you used or how will you use technology in the classroom?"

Technology is constantly evaluated for different uses. New tech developed for one purpose may be able to be adapted for other uses. As methods to use new tech in schools are developed, school systems become eager to incorporate it into their classrooms whenever possible.

It's important to assure your interviewer that you are familiar with and enthusiastic about using available technology. In addition, you should emphasize that you are always looking for new technologies to implement in your classroom as they become available.

List Any Technology You Have Used in the Classroom or at School

Review your past five years at work. Which technologies did you use and how did you use them? Platforms such as tablets, desktop computers, laptop computers, and mobile devices are commonplace—either provided by the school or by parents for their children.

Software packages (such as Microsoft Office) are numerous. These programs (modernly known as applications) offer many different ways to interact, collaborate, and learn.

There are many different methods of displaying information. Smartboards, smart televisions, computer displays and projectors are all methods of displaying information to your students. Cameras and recorders, along with editing tools, audio devices and applications can provide students with creative outlets and skills.

Technology You Use at Home

Discuss how you use technology at home and in your personal life. Social media, fitness tracking apps, other apps or games that you enjoy can shed light on your technological abilities.

Translate your uses of tech at home into future uses of technology in the classroom. If your previous schools had little technology in the classroom, demonstrating your use at home can create a positive response from your interveiwer.

If you are the person in your family that teaches others about using technology, it might be worth mentioning also because it demonstrates your understanding of and ability to teach others to use tech.

Technology Used at Non-Classroom Jobs

Be able to discuss how you used computers and other technology in jobs that were not in education. You may have used tablets and mobile devices in paid or volunteer work. Have examples of how you found them useful for performing the jobs or how you coached co-workers in using them.

Provide Examples of Technology You Have Used

Provide the interviewer with specific examples of what technologies you have used in the past:

  • "I was lucky to have one of the first 'Smart Boards' in my classroom. The children were immediately engaged and eager to explore the possibilities being offered. We learned together just what an amazing teaching tool it could be."
  • "We used tablets in my last class and the students used apps to enhance their lessons."
  • "My eighth grade English class created a blog and a wiki, with all of the students contributing. Students that were reluctant to speak in class blossomed when they were able to write their entries."
  • "One of my classes developed a podcast to share with other students and their families. They created the scripts, organized the shoots, and edited the footage."
  • "We connected to guests via Skype for interviews. The students asked questions and received answers from experts who were far away or too busy to come to class in person."
  • "I use a personal computer or tablet to develop and organize my lesson plans , share information with parents about their children and their performance, and calculate final grades."

Be Prepared to Talk about Social Media and Internet Safety Policies

The use of social media—both by students and by teachers—is a charged issue with many educators. While you should be prepared to demonstrate your command of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you also need to make sure that your use of these tools is transparent and that the way you present yourself there is above reproach.

You should also know and be prepared to discuss your local school board’s policies governing internet use and the safety protocols they have implemented in their public schools.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), twenty-five states have implemented internet filtering laws that require publicly funded schools and libraries to instigate policies that prevent minors from accessing obscene, sexually explicit, or otherwise harmful content on the internet.

These laws arose in response to the Federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) of 2000, mandating that schools receiving funds from the federal E-rate program provide internet filtering of classroom technologies accessed by students.

The other significant piece of legislation to be aware of is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998, that protects children under the age of 13 by not allowing their personal information to be collected by businesses without the consent of a parent or guardian (which is why social platforms like Facebook require users to be 13 or older).

Some school districts have responded to these laws not only by filtering websites but also by prohibiting social media contact between teachers and students on non-school approved platforms.

Many schools are using a collaborative platform that allows the teacher and student to interact in place of social media, to discuss assignments and school-related issues.

Learn The Technology Policies Before Interviewing

You may want to become familiar with your school district’s policies before going into the interview. If your district is one of the many that does allow teachers to use social media technologies for teacher-student and student-student discussion, be prepared to discuss what safeguards you would implement to ensure student safety and privacy in accessing whatever class blogs or social media pages you set up and administer.