A few thoughts as we ramp up another semester: what is my relationship with technology?
I am a fairly social person and like using Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook (sometimes) to communicate with friends, family, and acquaintances. Technology drives my life, I rely on it in my vehicle, home, school, Master’s program, part-time job, and even in the grocery store.
Most importantly, in terms of school, Graduate Studies and teaching, it is important that technology helps improve the quality and performance of our daily lives. I think that is the key to Ed Tech; it needs to improve and enhance the learning experience, not impede or simply replace pen and paper with MS Word. I relate to Neil Postman’s red dye in water analogy in his fourth idea: when dropping red dye into a glass of water, the water’s colour changes. He is speaking of ecological change with technology integration and how society as a whole cannot remain the same when a new invention or technology emerges, and so too is my classroom with technology.
I needed my device(s) to make a smooth transaction in my first home buying experience last year, something that is very different from the experiences my parents had while purchasing their first home – I had access to information almost immediately as it happened. In a world where everyone needs immediate gratification, immediate responses, and immediate information, I think it is crucial that students learn to cope with, and thrive in, the societal tech norms. It is my personal belief that students need access to technology in the classroom in order to learn these skills. I have heard stories from teachers who are not a part of the Connected Educator program in Regina Catholic Schools, and I am often reminded of how often I take for granted my 1:1 student devices/access. I really like an image that Lovepreet tweeted,
This really applies to how I see education going in the future! Teaching is flexible and adaptable… teaching without technology is becoming such a dated concept, while the integration and “Refefinition” of education is essential to remain relevant.
My first day of school before becoming a Connected Educator was very different than the last five years. One of the first tasks completed on the first day is setting up our laptops, testing out OneNote, and making sure we are connected to a printer. I often joke with colleagues that I would have a rude awakening if I suddenly had to teach without student devices. Over the past five years as a Connected Ed., I have received a number of compliments about the programming that myself and my colleague (both of us teach grade 7/8) produce with our students. I go to the SAMR model (being Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) to locate where my day-to-day tasks and assignments fall.
It is nearly impossible to stay in one section of the model all the time, it was best described to me that Connected Educators should be swimming laps in the SAMR pool; though, it is my goal to achieve redefinition as often as possible. For instance, integrating Minecraft into Language Arts as a viewing/listening and representing mark – a long way from the Bristol board posters I was used to as a student.
I feel that an appropriate definition for Ed Tech may be “authentically integrating 21st-century technology into learning environments that help students build skills for future opportunities”. One of the key components of being an “Analyst” on the ISTE Standards model is to “reflect on learning using technology” – metacognition at its finest, but being strengthened with Ed Tech to allow greater access and hopefully greater understanding of a student’s learning.
We are inherently affected by the history of education and technology, and it is within that history that allows us to constantly strive to achieve higher levels of excellence, and embracing the changing needs of the classroom, and find ways to use technology to breathe life into the curriculum is not only exciting but fulfilling early on in my career.
Until next week,