Hello new EC&I 833 friends! I am looking forward to semester of great learning with you all!
This week we are challenged to share our understanding and personal journey in the use of educational technology. Similar to many other educators my confidence in using technology to enhance learning in my classroom is a work in progress. Over the past few years I feel that I have become much more confident in incorporating and using technology within my classroom. What has changed this you ask? My number one reason for this change is my professional growth in Educational Technology through my Masters program. This has allowed me to really understand different angles of technology and the importance of teachers incorporating it and teaching about it in our classrooms.
So how do I feel about educational technology in my classroom today?
I believe that using technology is an integral component of a child’s educational experience. I feel that in order to prepare students for this every changing world it is crucial that we are teaching them to use the technologies that allow them to keep up to that fast pace. As teachers we need to consider how the constant access to technology changes the way in which we approach teaching this generation of students. With technology students generally have access to a wealth of knowledge at any time. We need to be teaching them the skills that they will require to access and critique this information that is so readily available to them.
In order to do this we must be teaching students how to use technology to build their 21st century thinking skills. These skills are crucial in helping them to understand, challenge, communicate and further their understanding of the rapidly changing world. As teachers if we are not bringing technology into our classrooms to build these skills, how are students supposed to know how to navigate and use technology efficiently outside of the classroom. As teachers we have a responsibility to create an environment where we can build these skills and guide students to use technology to build their 21st century thinking skills.
We need to find time within our teaching to help foster the future skills that our students will require to be successful in their futures. Statistics show that 65% of grade school children will have jobs that do not even exist yet. When looking at this statistic it is crucial that we consider what skills we are focusing on within our classrooms. It appears that the content may no longer be the main focus, rather we need to begin to focus on the skills that will allow students to build their own knowledge. The 21st century skills encourage students to have choice, learn to collaborate, communicate, use critical thinking skills and use their individual creativity. Our teaching needs to allow room for students to practice these skills with guidance in our classroom. We also need to consider how technology can enhance the learning in these areas and push the boundaries outside the four walls of our classrooms.
The book Building 21st Century Skills Through Technology provides teachers with specific ways to meet the 4Cs through the use of technology within the classroom. The following quote provides us with questions we should consider when identifying ways to incorporate technology into our teaching where the focus stays on the learning and not on the technology.
We know the impact and transformational experience technology brings, but it is important to look at the use of technology in the classroom by asking ourselves “What do we want students to learn?”, and after we have the objective, “How can technology transform the learning experience and foster the 4Cs?” Asking these questions in this way keeps the focus on learning and not on technology integration
Within the use of technology we need to remember to consider the SAMR model to help examine our use of technology. The SAMR model is a great way to look at the effectiveness of using technology within your teaching. The different SAMR levels allow teachers to consider how technology is enhancing the learning for the students. It allows teachers to consider what level the technology integration is at. The use of technology should be purposeful and used to enhance learning and not just used for the sake of using technology. Technology must be used to further learning and not just used because it is available to use.
My views and comfort level of using technology in my classroom are a continuous work in progress. Similar to what Daniel shared in his blog post there are many instances in teaching where it feels like a juggling act trying to keep up with the quick change in technology and the pressures of trying to do more with less. I feel that as teachers we can all relate to this! With that being said I feel that over the last few years I have really challenged myself to look at the way I use technology in my classroom and have really considered how I can continue to work on this. These classes have really opened my eyes to the importance of using technology in the classroom for the future of our students. Some may feel that technology is a distraction in the classroom but if lessons are thoughtfully planned and technology is purposefully integrated with familiar routines and expectations it can take learning places that are not reachable without the use of technology. I still have work to do in this area but I feel like I continue to make progress each and every school year!
Thanks for stopping in friends!