Is Education Enhancing What We Do?

I found this debate quite interesting. I come from a Special Ed. background and also have taught elementary and middle years. I very confidently went into this debate stating that yes, education is enhanced when using technology.

From a special education perspective students rely on technology in order to interact with peers and teachers, complete school work, express themselves, and for many other things. There are many apps that aid in these things such as articulation station, read and write, prism and many others.  From a (specifically) middle years perspective, as a teacher I rely… use… technology a lot in my day. My students love when we get to bring the laptops out and do various things (games, research, papers, presentations, exploration, etc). Some of our favourite things to use every day in the classroom are spotify, youtube, teams, and many more. Don’t get me wrong, I am not naive enough not to consider the games, social media apps, or anything else they should not be doing while on their computers. Prior to this debate I would have said technology helps make me a better teacher. I think it is easy to say that our world is fast pace and technology is becoming more and more advanced right before our eyes.

In my life I have gone from no computer/cellphones, to dial up, 1 computer in our school, then wireless internet, cell phones, these tiny portable computers, phones that act like a computer, robots that can take orders, cars that run on energy… the list is endless. I have seen first hand, as most of you have as well, how much technology has improved our society. With a click of a button I can research anything, play any game, order food and groceries, and buy essentially EVERYTHING.  I never have to leave my house again!!!

The irony in all of this… I hate technology. I am not techy. I like pen and paper. I still write out grocery and to-do lists, have a calendar on our fridge and make my students hand write research assignments. I would rather pick up the phone and call… better yet, get together in person, rather than over zoom, text or email. But I am able to appreciate technology and how I am able to use it to my advantage.

During the debate, which was very well done and had me really going back and forth, Kendyll said ONE phrase and it single handedly changed my view. Technology SUPPORTS education. A good teacher… actually all teachers should be able to effectively deliver the curriculum to students. The curriculum has not changed significantly enough where it includes the use of technology. Sure, it can make students gain a more in depth understanding, help with research, or answer questions that are unknown, but effective teachers can do their jobs with or without technology. Technology is meant to be used as an aid – to deepen and explore our understandings, not to replace the teacher.

There was talk about COVID when we were all sent home.Yes, technology was amazing and we were able to continue doing our job, but if technology was enhancing education, why are we still struggling with learning gaps that became irreversible…

There were many stand out points in the discussion, both in the chat on on video, and I think that the negative affects of how students utilize technology and how it can be an asset were highlights, and yes, we live in a very technology driven world, but our curriculum is not keeping up with that world and therefore we can use technology in a number of ways, and I am sure all of us do, BUT if we had to go a day, week, month, semester, etc without the use of technology I am sure we could all adapt and provide our students with opportunities to learn, create and explore. Heck take the kids outside or into a library and see what they learn!

 

Day in the Life

My day in the life right now looks very different than when I am working. Today, I use technology minimally. My most used tool is my phone. When I have time in the morning I will check my messages (often responding days or weeks later). Other than texting, I use snapchat and FaceTime, to connect with others. I do not have games on my phone but will scroll social media (instagram, facebook) periodically (but rarely post/comment).

We are typically up and out of the house either for a walk, workout, coffee with family or friends early – gotta love 8 am play dates!! When my son naps I am either doing things for school, cleaning, showering, cooking or other household things. Sometimes I will sit and scroll on my phone. Tiktok would be my main form of entertainment on my phone.

Throughout the day I rarely have the TV on.  Typically will only turn on the t.v to listen to music and that is very seldom. I try to stay away from technology as much as possible right now, especially while my son is awake. I currently do not even have a computer and so I only use my moms computer when doing assignments for classes. Now that it is nice we try to go to the farm or the lake as much as possible and the service is less than decent.

My use of technology when teaching is very different. I use technology quite a bit when working. I am a connected educator and so a lot of my day does involve computers but try and incorporate as much hands-on as possible. I am not very “techy” and I enjoy learning with my students. When teaching we do a lot with how to type, formatting, how to research, etc. There are many apps we explore together including quizzlet, blooket, StoryBoard That, Sound Trap, FlipGrid. My students do research projects for art, science, social, religion, and ELA. When creating their projects they explore different presentation apps (powerpoint, canva, prezi). I always get excited when students explore on their own and we learn how to use new apps together. We do a lot of work on the projector – watching videos, pulling up assignments, listening to music, etc). I also teach them how to use emails (how to write an email, how to attach documents etc). I work in a community where a lot of students do not have access to computers (or only use them for gaming) so a lot of work is done exploring and learning how to appropriately use them. I use a lot of videos to aid in my teaching. 

As I typed this, I realized how disconnected I am, but in all honestly, the summertime is when I recharge and relax and I really do love being away from technology. Especially being a new mom, I find that my mind would go to mush if I was consumed with it.