As I look back over the past seven weeks, I am amazed that I not only survived them but at times flourished. As a digital immigrant, a term coined by Marc Prensky for those of us who were not born in the digital age, I not only utilized technology that was foreign to me two months ago but was able to incorporate some of it into my classroom. Blogs, wikis, and podcasts were not part of my teaching repertoire prior to my taking the Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education course from Walden University. Now, I can not only follow blogs but have the ability to create one for the classroom where my students can interact in a non-formal setting to get answers to questions that are too embarrassing to ask in class, share information about upcoming projects, or organize their work for future use. This is a fabulous tool to include in one's teaching pedagogy as it transforms the classroom from a teacher-centered format to one dirven by the students. In today's collaborative world, this empowers students to take control of their own education and work collectively to create a lasting overall contribution (skills that will definitely be in high demand in the future).
Today's students were born into a digital age where much of their lives are spent being "plugged in" to some sort of technology - ipods/ipads, the internet via cell phones, social networking sites, videogames played online with friends in their homes, and the list goes on. That being the case, it behooves me as an educator to teach these students in the mediums that they are most familar with, primarily using these technological tools. Unfortunately, school districts are grossly underfunded and their techological capabilities lag far behind that of the student population they serve. Keeping abreast of the lastest technological advances and incorporating technology when and where I can will be the panecea to connect to these 21st century learners.
To that end, I have subscribed to a select few blogs that scan the technological horizon for the best and brightest products that enhance the educational experience. (Again, I am looking for technology that will enhance the educational experience and not just simplify it.) A goal that I have set for my classroom is to create a classroom wiki for my American History classes which could serve not only as a starting point for many of my students to be introduced to this type of technology but as a collective record of the information they explored throughout the course. An obstacle to overcome would be the lack of availability that my students have to computers (as you may recall, I teach in a detention facility). A second goal that I wish to attain is to steadily add one aspect of technology to the units that I teach, be it a blog, a podcast, or a wiki. The challenge will be to find the time to teach the necessary skills to achieve something such as a podcast and the time frame that it will include. I do not want to tie myself down to only one type of technology as diversification is the new norm of the classroom. Creativity and flexible teaching schedules (including switching classrooms) will be the means to begin implementing this plan.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
This week's assignment was to profile today's student population in regards to their use of technology and its potential in the classroom. The survey created for this questioned students about their proficiency in using everything from cell phones to computers. Not surprisingly, most students were proficient at texting and posting to Facebook but were unfamiliar with blogs, podcasts, and wikis. If we, as educators incorporate these technologies into the classroom, we can diversify and differentiate our teaching to reach those students who are not as successful within the traditional confines of the classroom. To hear more about my findings, you can click on the link: http://sandradoty.podbean.com.