Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Teaching: Old School + Technology

When all of the students own iphones, how does an educator compete? There are a multitude of innovations that have made it easier than ever to communicate, but how do we utilize this technology to help educate the next generation, without distracting from our real point?

I sometimes find myself having a hard time concentrating on a novel, or a long article, because I am so used to reading 150 character tweets and statuses which are coming at me every time I refresh my browser. Because those statements are short, punchy, and to the point, it's hard to not get comfortable with the instant gratification. It really makes you think, are there really so many students being diagnosed with ADHD because the internet has ruined all of our attention spans?

When it comes to technology, I am an avid promoter. I think that when one knows how to use technology in the classroom, it is a force to be reckoned with. However, there is something to be said for the more conventional ways of teaching as well. You still need to probe and prompt students to scaffold the information themselves, otherwise they may not ever really understand it. But you can do this while still utilizing visuals and connections.

I for one love pop-culture references, as most of our society does. I think that it doesn't really matter if a student is learning to apply their new knowledge in a way that means something to them, as long as it works. Then they can also apply it to the curriculum.

But what happens when we have all of this technology and no one to train us on it? It's true that smart boards are a wonderful tool, but I have observed too many technological issues that happen in the middle of lessons. Yes, we should have a back up plan for any lesson, but technology issues also affect productivity in a large way. If the technology fails in a 45 minute period, you in no way are able to make up that time.

There has to be a balance. I'm striving to find it, and as I become more technology savvy, I hope to improve my lessons and help students become stronger writers and readers. I'm in it for the kids, and I'll never forget that.

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