Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Why do we bother with this technology stuff?


 There is a lot of resistance to change in teaching as I am of the pesonal opinon that we are all control freaks in our own ways.  I know that I certainly am and like things to be done in certain ways.  In my previous blog post, I outlined what I have learnt throughout this term and how the journey in my 1-1 environment has been going so far.  As I am sitting here on a pupil free day, I guess the questions that many of my peers in the staff room is 'Why are we bothering with using technology in our classrooms?  Can't we achieve quality educational outcomes without the bother?  Is there any computer stuff on NAPLAN?  Why bother then?'

My journey with ICT in my class has been ongoing process that is constantly evolving and changing.  My answer to all of these questions come back to this key message: We need to educate 21st century kids using 21st century methods for the 21st century.  If we do not do this, my opinion is that we are failing to give kids the skill set that they need to function as a productive member of society now and in the future.  That certainly is a mouthful but I truly belive that this is to be the case.  Our Digial Natives deserve the best learning experiences that can be delivered and they don't know any different.

This does not mean that I think we should 'chuck away' all of the old methods.  As a 33 year old man, I was educated in an environment that was not very technology rich.  I remember the first time that I saw an old 'Overhead Projector' and my teacher pulled out an OHT and projected it up onto the big screen.  As a 7 year old, this was the most amazing thing that I had ever seen.  I remember 'ROTE' learning number facts etc and this whilst it was a boring experience, I still learnt.  But was I an active participant in my learning?  The answer to that question is 'sort of'.  I had some fantastic teachers who inspired me but I was a passive recipent of information and reliant upon the person at the front of the room providing me with the 'stuff' I needed to survive and thrive in the world that I lived in.

So why do I bother?  I bother because I feel that I have a responsibility to the students to prepare them for the world that they live in.  I feel that technology enhances the learning experiences of students and motivates them to question / reflect / investigate their environment.  The reluctant students in my class seem to engage better in their learning by using technology.  If technology wasn't integrated across all key learning areas, I am positive that they would not attempt to participate in the classroom environment at all.  I am sure that they would disengage and look for avenues to vent their frustrations.

Technology helps engage and empower all students (even the reluctant ones!) and we need to look after our 21st century learners to the best of our abilities.

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