My definition of educational technology is any form of technology that enhances learning and engagement for students and provides opportunities for different thinking. This idea has taken many years to form, and will continue to modify as technology changes.
I still consider myself to be fairly new to the teaching profession, a rookie if you will. I’m only nine years in, so I still feel like I should be the “tech savvy” staff member. I wish that were the case! My confidence with technology is almost non existent, but my desire to improve my understanding of technology in the classroom is very strong!
As an elementary student, I remember having one computer in our school. It was the librarians computer, and only those in grades 5 and 6 will allowed to use it for “All the Right Type”. As the typical “going to be a teacher one day” kid, I was usually finished my work early so I got to go and sharpen my typing skills. I remember loving how the tight keys clicked and clacked. I remember totally buying into the passing each level, and believing that I would have to pass a typing speed test when I applied for a job in the future.
As a high school student, the technology that sticks out to me was the overhead – I wrote an entire semester’s worth of Bio 20 from it. I hated that thing and always hoped that the bulb would burn out before second period Biology. The other piece of technology I remember was learning to use Microsoft Word and paint. Typing my work gave me a new zest for learning because everything felt so professional!
When I went to University, I bought myself a brand new laptop with my graduation money. It even had a wireless mouse! It was so cool. I entered a brand new world of note taking on my laptop, taking photos of notes on my phone and blogging.
My first student teaching position was in a school with brand new smart boards – I felt so lucky! I used it daily – to write the date, to show videos and write notes. At the time, I proudly believed that I was using the technology to it’s full capacity – I mean I was using it every day! I have since come to realize that teaching with technology is not just using it daily – it is using it effectively (preferably daily).
The other day, I reflected on my use of technology now – nine years later. Not much has changed. So much of the reason why I haven’t been quick to incorporate technology into my teaching (besides using my smart board as a projector screen) is because of lack of time. It’s ironic because in so many ways, technology is supposed to save us time and yet I feel like often it adds unnecessary time to my teaching (set up, trouble shooting, etc). This leads to a serious lack of confidence in the technology department, and I find myself wondering why I would start a classroom blog when “good old fashion” journal writing works just the same!
The truth is, it does work the same but that also means that I am the same. I know that I could easily coast along, and continue using the smart board as a projector screen but I don’t want to be that teacher. I want students to be excited to come to my class because I am not afraid to try new things, and I want them to observe how I handle my disappointment and frustration when they fail. I don’t want to take the easy way out anymore, because I know that it won’t make me a better teacher in the long run. I have 25 (ish) more years of teaching, which means that I have the same amount (or more) of learning to do!