I am also thinking a lot about my rationale behind using educational technology because of discussions that took place between my BEd students yesterday in our first class. As a whole, my students were less familiar with edtech than I expected. Some even questioned the need for it.
We are responsible for preparing our students for the future. As teachers, we have to be futurists. The future includes technology in our daily lives. For better or for worse, kids in today's classrooms will be using technology every day throughout their lives. If we don't help to prepare them to be responsible digital citizens and how to use technology effectively, who will?
As those of you who know me in person know, I love technology. I love playing with new things and finding ways to make them help my students. I've gotten a reputation amongst peers and students that I am a "tech expert". I am not an expert by any means, but I am an eager learner.
Using tech with students has been transformative for me (and for them). Students who struggled to find and share their voices in a busy classroom suddenly feel empowered through the use of tech. Some ways I've seen this is in the work they create on the Google Drive, the videos they create to share in class (sometimes if they're too shy to present in person), and the projects they collaborate on. Notice that in the previous sentence, I mentioned "creation" twice. It is too easy to be a consumer in our world. Creation is key in life and in education. It's part of the reason I'm committed to blogging more this year. We are all responsible to control our own impact on the world - in person and online. The sooner students start living this the better.
Of course, there is a need for balance, and I don't, by any means, suggest that technology is a replacement for relationships or in-person contact. I only know that it enhances everything I value in a classroom. Tech helps with differentiation, creation, collaboration, authenticity, transparency, communication and engagement.
My Rainbow Eggheads presented at a conference for local teachers last year about how tech enhances their learning. They can tell you far better than I can about the impact edtech has on them.
I think today's teacher is not just a "Guide on the Side", but should be seen as a "Collaborative Curator". Technology gives me the abilities to: personalize all student learning and collaborate with each of my students; aid them in collaborating and connecting with each other and those in the world who can help and support them; help them sort through the huge volume of information available and curate effectively; give each student the opportunity to share his or her voice with each other and the world.
Technology, as Bill Ferriter wrote, is a tool, not a learning outcome. Like any educational tool, it can be used in a variety of ways depending on the creativity of students and teachers, and it does not stand alone.
|I share this image frequently. I think Bill effectively summarizes so much about what great educators do, in the face of fears of technology.|
Technology allows me, as a teacher, to bring my practice and student learning to another level. I have deeply internalized the SAMR model to not just enhance, but to transform my teaching. Just substituting a paper worksheet for one online does not an educational enhancement make. When you start to redefine teaching entirely, that is when technology becomes indispensable. Providing my students with opportunities to Skype and collaborate with students in California, create a video for a student in hospital undergoing cancer treatment, bring their families from around the world "into" the room by live streaming class events and sharing our inquiries with changemakers through Twitter and our blog would not be possible without technology.
|I think every teacher NEEDS to know and understand the SAMR model. My class learned and lived it last year.|
Becoming literate today means a lot more than being able to speak, read and write. As I shared with my BEd class yesterday, there are "New Literacies" illustrated by Silvia Tolisano that was can use technology to help our students develop.
|"New Literacies" include the abilities to collaborate globally, create multimedia and design effectively.|
My new grade 3/4 EPCOTclass is very excited to get started using their Chromebooks. We are several days and some training away from starting to use them daily, but I look forward to exploring with them the challenges and advantages of having access to technology anywhere, anytime in our classroom.
Teachers, we have to keep up with our students and help them keep up with the world. Technology is a tool that can help us do just that.