I am steadily, maybe slowly is a better word, working to build my personal/professional learning network. I now have a Facebook page, Twitter feed, and this website. There are some amazing teachers and administrators out there that I am following and from whom I am learning. I am excited about the possibilities of making connections with these educators in other districts and states. I also realize that if I am to be successful in this technology integration field that I need to focus on efforts in our own schools. With that goal in mind I would like to share some snippets from what I have been reading that reflect my own thoughts about technology and education. While I'm at it I hope to share some insight into a couple of cool bibliography tools.
I used a Google Drive add-on called EasyBib to cite my sources in this document. It is fairly easy, hence the name, to use. It is not perfect. I had to find/insert the authors of the articles and the dates of publication on my own. This is not a complaint and would probably serve as a useful lesson to students. Regardless of how easy technology can make our lives, it is of utmost importance to be diligent and thorough with our work. I also want to point out that I didn't necessarily see this add-on as an upgrade over what could already be done with citations with the Google research tool. At this point I would have to say that I am still partial to CiteLighter for my citation/bibliography needs.
No grades. My students don’t work for grades, they work for understanding. There is a big difference and it is something we cultivate throughout the year.
Lack of knowledge. I don’t know everything and I tell my students that so we have to figure it out together.
Curiosity. I am very curios as are my students so we have to take time to explore some of the things we are curious about. Whether it is through genius hour, project time or simply stopping what we are doing to veer off the path, we allow it and we embrace it.
Global connections. My students reaching out to teach others or ask others is a big part of our room and something that brings us happiness. We try to incorporate some sort of global connection in most things we do, as long as it makes sense.
I share it with you because it just makes so much sense. I don't know everything and am searching to gain understanding. I am always excited and grateful when a student can help me get there. Yes, I am not a classroom teacher anymore but I have had many instances this year of students teaching me about technology. I think they should know that I have a lot to learn about teaching and technology and that I am willing to accept their insight. Curiosity will only get me and our students so far. At some point we will need help so it makes sense to reach out across the globe for connections.
I share the following from Marla Clark’s article about Preparing Schools for Mobile Learning Success because I think it speaks to the notion that while the Three R's are still the foundation of a quality education, the Four C's (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Complex Problem solving) will also determine student successes today and tomorrow.
Rote memorization and the mastery of basic skills are no longer enough. To succeed in college and the workplace today, students need to be able to:
Adapt to change
Work in teams
Analyze and conceptualize
Reflect on and improve performance
Create, innovate and critique
Engage in learning throughout life
Given the proliferation of mobile devices today, for students “there’s no more ‘I think,’” Abshire told session attendees. “If you ask them something, they’re immediately on their phones and tablets Googling the question. It’s now ‘I know.’”
I have often commented on a quote that I came across on Twitter that expressed that the way we educate our students changed when they figured out that the answers to our questions could be found in the palm of their hands. We are the guides along this technology-infused educational reality. Our role has never been more important or more complicated.
The following excerpt comes from Anthony Cody’s article about The Classroom of the Future. He presented information and concerns about technology devices. Devices are being developed that will react to the students needs and abilities. The machines will present the necessary instruction to the students. The appliances will then measure the student learning. I included Mr. Cody’s words here because they match my feelings. I am all for tech integration but, it is still the creative, curious, inventive teachers that are the key to providing a high quality education!
Teachers with manageable class sizes are far better at understanding and relating to the personal interests and abilities of their students than even the best device. Teachers have the added capability of interpersonal relationship - which no device has yet achieved. Thus, smaller class sizes remain a more prudent investment than devices which will be obsolete in a few years.
...Creativity and innovation have always been of greatest educational value when they emerge from the autonomy given to classroom teachers and students.
Talented people don’t go into startups to follow step-by-step directions and wait for approval at every turn. They want to move fast, break things, discover, and create — not be treated like children.
At first this is mainly about teaching people how to figure out what to work on right now (prioritization). Then it’s more a matter of building their confidence both in themselves and their team to a point where they just do things they know is right without even talking to me (autonomy).
Rather than assigning and approving tasks at every turn, then, management is about keeping people in motion and getting out of their way.
My own approach to technology integration, and the approach I encourage your to adopt, is to PLAY!