As the first module of my Ed Tech 504class wraps up, it’s time to look at I look at where I am, where I want to go and the
ripple effect that may have. In my world as a Science teacher in a small private school, I am pushing to include the use of technology in as many ways as I feel is prudent. The word “prudent” being the key. Since my introduction into this field just two years ago, I have certainly become enamored with the tools that educational technology provides. I have created wikis for my classes and my school, attempted to get teachers to move discussions to a Ning and begun to record lectures via podcast on a regular basis. I have sought out different experiences for my students to have through online tutorials and a wide variety of online web 2.0 tools. The tools are very seductive and exciting to say the least.
Personally, I find using technology very exciting because it can offer a very multifaceted approach to learning. Nowadays, however, I am taking a hard look at the reasons and best methods for inclusion of technology in my classes. In addition, I have begun a transition towards being a leader in educational technology at my school. Beginning this year, I have started to drop classes in favor of exploring technology use and sharing the results of that exploration with my colleagues. While this is a very exciting time for me, the idea of becoming a leader in a field that is ever shifting and difficult to define is also a bit intimidating.
In terms of my teaching, a student in one of my classes- I teach a variety of Science and Math classes, but am most comfortable in a Biology classroom- can expect to spend a number of days on a computer and relatively fewer days listening to a lecture. I have opened my eyes to the fact that a lecture based class is not an effective learning situation for most students. As I learn more about learning, I see that the majority of my knowledge has come through experience, not through listening to lectures or following step-by-step lab procedures. I learned best when things got messy. When I was unsure of how to proceed and had to figure it out on my own. That is the experience that I hope to bring to my classes and the incorporation of educational technology in a myriad of ways helps make that possible.
In our wired world, technology is so much more than the computer in front of me or a lab simulation- though I do think they are both helpful in their own way. Instead, the world is at my fingertips. I can head out and find the information I want or need. I can share ideas with colleagues, watch tutorials on astronomy or cell biology and even tweet a cookbook author to ask a question about a recipe. (I did this last one just the other day and was very excited to hear that the rubbery texture of my vegan burgers was normal!) The point is that everyone with an internet connection can head out and seek information. Doing so well is another story. Learning about the foundations of educational technology can only help me gain a better global view of what it is I am trying to accomplish. As a teacher, I can get very myopic about the inclusion of technology. I look at this web tutorial or that blog and choose it for a given assignment. While this turns out useful more often than not, it does leave me wanting a bit in terms of being able to share the virtues of educational technology with my colleagues in other departments. I am
hopeful that learning more about the core of the educational technology field will help me to better reach out to my colleagues.
The ripples of what I am doing are certainly being felt by my colleagues already. I am doing my best to model technology inclusion in a meaningful way so that teachers around me might see it and ask about what I am doing and give me an opportunity to share ideas with them. Once the dialogue is open, I truly believe that most teachers will see the value of helping their students make connections, making connections themselves and being part of a global community.