Personal and Professional Technology

Over the years it is truly remarkable to see just how much technology has evolved and changed. It might be the old soul in me, but I often find myself remarking that I wish things just used to be the way that they were, in more simple of times before technology really advanced to the extent that it now has. However, as I take time to really reflect for this blog post and how much I use technology daily, it has brought me to truly realize of just how lucky we are to have the technology we have today and the many benefits that it provides.

Personal Tech

Everyday I begin with waking up to an alarm on my iPhone, except on the weekends of course when I try to sleep in a bit! During the week, my days are very busy with teaching, so I do not have the opportunity much to connect on my iPhone throughout the day. However, in the evening I enjoy some down time on my phone where I scroll through my favorite apps which are Instagram, Twitter, Facebook/Messenger, Snapchat and of course as I am in the midst of wedding planning, Pinterest! I also enjoy relaxing evenings at home enjoying Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and our local cable television. I am a huge music lover, so my Apple Music playlists are a must when I head to the gym or go outside for run. I am lucky enough to now have an Apple Watch and the Apple AirPods that make accessing music while exercising an absolute breeze.

I am very much a people person, so I prefer connecting with people face-to-face rather than over a screen. But, as we all know of how busy life gets, sometimes connecting through technology is your only option. To do this, I use the features on my iPhone of call, text, Facetime and using my iPhone camera and video to share memories with family and friends as well. However, when I am using technology for personal reasons, I am very mindful of being present in the moment and taking everything in. Sometimes you just have to put down the screen and take everything in for what it is worth. Perhaps I will regret this at a later time in my life, as I will not have as many photos or videos of memories that others may have. But, connecting with people in person rather than over a screen if possible, is very important to me.  

Professional Tech

In my first year of teaching twelve years ago, we were completing attendance on paper to submit to the school office. Now we submit attendance to the school office through a program on our school laptop called Edsby. Just through this one comparison, it really shows how much technology within our schools has grown and evolved in a relatively short time.

Through Edsby, this is also our main source for home/school communication, documenting of grades, completion of report cards and recording student observations. As the classroom teacher, I use the Edsby Capture app to record photos and videos of student learning at school to then share with student families at home. It is such a great way to connect home with school, student families can even like, comment or save the photos or videos. One of the challenges that I do experience with teaching Kindergarten and using the Edsby Capture app, is that it is more teacher directed rather than student directed. It is my professional goal that in the future I become more comfortable with allowing my students the opportunity to take lead in capturing their own learning at school rather than me doing it for them. With the Edsby Capture app, students and their families can also capture learning at home with a photo or video to then share with their teachers back at school!

I have a mounted data projector in my classroom which I use daily for a variety of subject areas. For the students, I will often access and display videos such as Cosmic Kids Yoga for some relaxation, Go Noodle for fun exercise or Art for Kids Hub for awesome guided drawing lessons.

Shallow focus photography of macbook
Photo by Nao Triponez on Pexels

Some other tech sources that I use professionally when at school are:

I feel that one of the greatest benefits of using technology within our schools is that it allows us as educators to connect more purposefully with student families at home. Home and school connection is crucial. However, with that said, it is also important to be mindful of students and their families that perhaps do not have access to technology or the internet. This brings me to my final question for my fellow educators:

Do you rely solely on tech sources to communicate with student families? Or, do you use a varied approach of both tech and traditional paper methods sent home?

Thanks for reading and stopping by!

12 Replies to “Personal and Professional Technology”

  1. Matthew Fehr says: Reply

    Thank you for such a thoughtful post Alyssa. I too feel that things were simpler when technology was much less pervasive, but I have to remind myself that during that time I had a lot less on my plate in terms of responsibility, so maybe I am seeing the past with rose tinted glasses. I think we have been teaching for a similar length of time, my first full time teaching assignment was 15 years ago in a small town. I distinctly remember the contrast between the first year I taught and the second year when the town received its first cell phone tower. It was like a light switch had been flipped and things were never going to be the same. I remember my biggest concern was note passing, my students were like little KGB agents! The next year it was almost like leaping into a different century.

    I think your idea of getting students to share evidence of their own learning is a fantastic idea. I have found that when students get invested in their own learning great things happen. I agree that we shouldn’t assume that every family has equitable access to technology, I think the pandemic was very clear that there are significant gaps between the students we teach in terms of resources.

    1. Alyssa Johnson says: Reply

      Thank you for your response Matthew, great to hear from you! You are so right, online learning at home during the pandemic was difficult for so many students and their families that did not have access to any technology. I feel like it has brought us as educators to the realization of what so many of our families are up against, and that we most definitely need to be mindful of that when trying to connect with families at home via tech!

      What a change for the small town you had been teaching in, I cannot even imagine! Crazy to think that we have been teaching for the time that we have been now, time sure flies!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I did not knew about Edsby earlier but after reading your blog I came to know that Edsby provide lots of choices and its a good to keep records. We all use technology in similar or different ways I found some similarities with you such as I also spend time on Social Media, Amazon Prime, Netflix and so on. From education to fun we all indulge ourselves in using technology. Even putting an alarm on the phone is the technology and we do not even give a second thought while using it. Technology has made our life easier and connected the world.

    1. Alyssa Johnson says: Reply

      Hi Amanpreet! Thank you so much for your response to my blog, great to hear from you!

      Edsby is a new program we just started using this year with the Regina Public School Division, but so far I am really liking it! I think what I appreciate most about it, is that everything is located in one central program. Attendance, student observations, report cards, home/school messages. I no longer have to access a variety of different programs to complete all of these different tasks!

      Sounds like we enjoy some of the same sources to watch our favorite movies and shows! I also completely agree with you that technology has definitely enhanced our way of living. Wild to think how much it has changed in the last decade, I often wonder where technology will be in another 10 years!

  3. Lovepreet Kaur says: Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on technology in your day to day life. The basic goal of technology, which brings together tools to promote development, use, and information sharing, is to make chores easier and to solve many of humanity’s issues. We must emphasize how beneficial technology is to our lives as it advances and makes our lives even more convenient. after reading your post, i also found few similarities such as watching Netflix, scrolling Instagram and many other social media sites.

    1. Alyssa Johnson says: Reply

      Hi Lovepreet! Thank you for reading my blog, I appreciate your time and thoughts!

      Sounds like we enjoy many of the same social media spots!

      I completely agree with you that technology has made our lives more convenient. I often find myself saying I wish I would have lived in the olden days before all of this technology. But I know full well that if I were to travel back to time and live in that era, I would be missing all of the luxuries we have today because of technology! We are very lucky to live in the times that we do today!

  4. Hey Alyssa,
    I agree with being mindful in the moment! Even tonight I was out for a walk with my girls and my oldest asked for my phone to take a picture, and I replied that I did not bring my phone! There are definitely times when you don’t need to experience life from behind the camera. That also reminds me of the time I was at a live concert in 2019 and the musician actually asked everyone to put down their phones and just experience the live music!
    And yes, I also remember completing attendance on paper and sending a different student each day to the office to β€œsubmit” my attendance! And I also use Youtube for Mindfulness/Breathing videos for the start of each class, I find the mindful moment is a great way to start the hour together.
    As for your question about home communication. I find that the majority of the communication I have with families is still emailed home, with a few phone calls. There are a couple of times (example: Outdoor ED club) that I have had to send home permission forms to be signed by parents/guardians. These have not become digital yet – at least not that I know of!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Alyssa Johnson says: Reply

      Hi Nicole! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog!

      That is so cool about your experience at the concert, I feel like I remember hearing about that back in 2019! Taking the moment in fully, love it!

      Aren’t mindful moments just the best in class? There are so many great sources for this online and I feel like it even helps us as educators! When we need those moments too in our busy days just to breathe and slow down. Self care and being aware of our mental health is so important! I admire you taking time for this during your school days, together with your students.

  5. Jenny Weinrauch says: Reply

    Hi Alyssa,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I also remember the days of attendance on paper. As technology progressed I wished things could go back to the simpler times. Today through experiencing and becoming comfortable with different technology as well as taking Ed Tech courses I have come to appreciate the tools we now have and use. I hope to become more involved and applying the features EDSBY offers as I am not using it to its full potential.
    I agree that we are so lost in our devices and need to live in the moment!
    I use Remind and EDSBY for home communication as I am fortunate to have all my families connected on these platforms. I still do make the occasional phone call home to celebrate a student or when there is an issue (my least favourite calls ).

    1. Alyssa Johnson says: Reply

      Hi Jenny! Thank you for your response to my blog, I really appreciate it!

      Good for you for making those phone calls home, I know some can most definitely be difficult sometimes, but also so good for the celebratory ones too!

      That is fantastic to hear that all of your families are connected to Edsby. A very convenient way to connect home/school! I am the same as you, I know that Edsby has so much more to offer but I am not utilizing it to its fullest. We will have to give ourselves some grace as it is only the first year we are using the new program. But, I am certain with time that we will become much more proficient users of Edsby!

  6. Kelly Ziegler says: Reply

    I am so happy to hear that I am not the only one with an iPhone 8 that is still rocking it! I mean, she’s definitely not functioning as well as maybe she once did, but it’s still working and I am crossing my fingers that it holds on for as long as it can. I mean, I probably would enjoy some of the new features that comes along with having a new piece of technology, however, if I don’t know anything different, I can’t really miss it then, can I?

    For the most part, I rely on technology to communicate with my families. Many of my families do not have phones, or do not answer numbers that they do not know leaving it very difficult to communicate. Email works really well for me, and if I have something really important, I will send it home on paper like permission forms, etc. Because I teach a higher level grade, I can post a lot of things on the board for students to reference as well, so that helps out a lot too. It’s a tricky balance for sure. But I know if I have families that do not have access to the internet then I will for sure balance the approach and send home paper. Great prompting question! I love a good question to answer after responding to many posts! πŸ™‚

    1. Alyssa Johnson says: Reply

      Hi Kelly!

      Thank you so much for reading my first official blog post! I am also so happy that we are in a grad class together! πŸ™‚
      I am on the exact same page with you about the great iPhone 8, I have no clue what the new versions have to offer, so I am just comfortable sticking with old faithful too!
      It sounds like we use a very similar approach for home and school communication, thank you for taking part in my question prompt! I feel that it most likely varies depending on what school you are teaching at and the specific community, but it is always important to be mindful as educators of knowing the best way to reach your families. Your students and their families are very lucky to have you as their teacher!

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