I am starting my 8th year as an Instructional Technology Specialist and I can say that, while all jobs have their days, I very much enjoy what I do. I love being able to go into classrooms and model lessons. It is a great feeling when I can make a teacher’s life a little easier by introducing something to them or creating a resource that saves them time or fortifies a concept they are working on with their students. A battle I have been fighting for all 7 years so far still sits toward the front as an obstacle for me, however. How do I get educators to understand that technology isn’t an “extra” anymore?
More and more resources are becoming available to teachers and their students…and it is happening at an alarming rate. Technology is in everyone’s life whether they want it or not. I am seeing great strides by teachers as they jump into the technology world themselves. Most understand and are pushing forward knowing that our children are exposed to technology everywhere they go. With their innate ability to multi-task, it is a challenge to keep them engaged. We are introducing new technology at a very rapid pace…but many are still looking at technology as one more thing they need to teach.
Technology should no longer be taught as a stand alone. It should be incorporated into other lessons as a tool for learning. Technology should enhance your lessons, not be a lesson. In most cases the students will not need to be taught how to use a device. Stick it in their hands…they will figure it out WAY FASTER than we ever will.
I am not now, nor will I ever, say that technology is a cure all and has to be included in everything we do in school. If it doesn’t fit, don’t try cramming it in. There are many cases, however, where technology is a good fit. Start slowly…change a lesson’s final product from a written paragraph to a short video. If you need the paragraph, allow them to create a postcard, brochure, or even blog about it. There is a lot to be said about allowing for creativity. Those are the things that will move your students and their responses up the Bloom’s ladder.
I know many of you are hesitant. Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith. There will be bumps in the road…there always are. Those bumps will smooth out with each passing day. Don’t fight technology…let it work for you. You and your students will both benefit.