I went to a mobile store the other day and I noticed that there are some really marvelous mobile phones. Marvelous meaning that they are technology driven. Some of these cell phones don’t have a QWERTY key board. I started thinking, so how in the world will I be able to send text messages? How will I dial my numbers for those that I want to contact that are not listed in my contacts? These phones, and I don’t mean I Phone or any other related devices either, are completely touch screen. Of course, I was skeptic. Then I saw the Sprint LG Optimus Android and I asked the sales representative to show it to me.
Like my reaction to my technology class, I immediately became smitten with the capabilities that this phone has. I am sure that there are others like it. My point is, I just found out about it. Did I wait to see if everyone liked it? I most certainly did not!
I apply this same concept to teaching. If I am aware of a technological device or tool that will aid me in the classroom I will be using it. As long as I actually have access to it from school, one must remember that there are a number of useful websites that are blocked from school to teachers, I definitely, will be using the technological tool to enhance my teaching and learning environment.
Dr. Scott McLeod stated “given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children’s future, is it really okay to allow teachers to choose whether or not they incorporate digital technologies into instruction?” NO! I don’t believe that it is okay for us to allow teachers to wait and choose if they wish to incorporate technology into their instruction. Yes we live in a democratic society. On the other hand, let’s face the fact, technology is improving daily. We can either embrace it or do our students a disservice. I mean, will we be preparing them for the world in which they will have to live if we don’t use technology in our instruction? My goodness, many of my students have all of the touch phones that I spoke of earlier. How can we say that we are educators if we don’t wish to upgrade our teaching strategies?
Have you ever thought about what future classrooms could look like? Watch this video then continue reading my blog. Now that you have watched the video, do you see why teachers should not be allowed to chose to not use technology in their instruction.
When we buy a car we want an upgrade from what we had. When we change our bed we want an upgrade. When we go shopping we buy things that are trendy or at least appropriate for the times and occasion that we are attending. Then why is it that some educators use archaic teaching methods that have long since outlived its usefulness?
Every website that you visit speaks about letting teaching be student centered. Please visit this link to read this article in full. One thing that is a fact is that there are certain things that are evident in a class that utilizes technological tools to enhance the teaching and learning environment. They are as follows:"Characteristics of Engaged Learners*
Responsible for their own learning
They invest personally in the quest for knowledge and understanding, in part because the questions or issues being investigated are drawn from their own curiosity about the world. Projects are pertinent and questions are essential.
Energized by learning
They feel excited, intrigued and motivated to solve the puzzles, make new answers and reach insight. Their work feels both important and worthwhile.
They make thoughtful choices from a toolkit of strategies, considering carefully which approach, which source and which technique may work best to resolve a particular information challenge.
They work with others in a coordinated, playful manner, splitting up the work according to a plan and sharing good ideas during the search for understanding."
*These concepts are based upon the work of Barbara Means quoted in Plugging In.
It is also stated in the National Technology Plan that we are to prepare students to become 21st century learners. Then how can we do that if as teachers we are not using the 21st century technology tools that are available to us?
Of course when we get to the local level the amount of technology that is available to us as educators may be varied. One thing that is certain is that we can use whatever little we have available and make it work. As we would say back home “Turn Your Hand and Make Fashion” Which basically means that we have to use what we have and not whine about what you don’t.
On the other hand, as Will Robinson said in his blog "how in God's name can we seriously talk about 21st century skills for kids if we are not talking 21st Century skills for our educators?" Without a doubt administrators need to provide the necessary training in creative ways that will ensure that teachers are able to use the wide variety of technological tools that are available to them. An educator that has no idea about how to use something, or even knows that it exists for that matter, can't implement it. Of course, if the educator is aware of the tool; I would advise him/her to make use of it. There are numerous websites that teaches you how to do certain things. To be quite honest, the mastering of many of these technology tools are not as hard as one may think. By merely opening a search engine, such as Google, one can type what he/she wants and many possible responses are available.
One thing that is a fact, is that there needs to be more connected classrooms like this one. Watch this video to see how a school has collaborated with Dell and has not only have technology available at its school, but also found ways to assist teachers to get the technology use implemented in classrooms for all courses.
Again, I know views on the topic that I am discussing will differ. However, I strongly believe that educators should not wait for formal development of any technological device that is appropriate for school. There are so many people and tools that you will encounter in cyberspace. Are we going to say hold up, wait a minute, I can't use this right now! Or are we as educators going to take the initiative with the resources that we have available at our schools and educate our students the best way that we know how. I am sure that once administrators see that based on your initiative there may be something valuable that can benefit all students at the school they may be more supportive. They may have that push that some may need to launch the technology boat at that school. Remember that many of the limited technology resources are linked to funding. As educators we have to think outside the box and find creative ways to engage our students with the little technology that we may have available.
It is a fact that, some schools are left wanting, but we can make use of what we have until we get what we want. Just a thought. As Prensky M. (2001) stated, like I had said many times before, our students are digital natives. They are digital learners and educators are the digital immigrants that have to teach these students in their technological language. Watch this video. I know that you will find it interesting as we talk about students being digital learners. This is a fact that sooner, hopefully not later, that we have to face. Look at or lecturer's grand daughter. My goodness, at such a tender age and she is already engrossed and enthralled about technology.
Again let's make use of what we have and teach our students using technology that is available to us at our schools. Until we meet again in cyberspace, walk with your digital learners and get them immersed, the best way that you know how, in technology.