Monday, January 30, 2012

Times Have Changed

Something so simple and obvious seems to have passed right by me. I am sure you know what I am talking about - when your brain is racing a mile a minute and processing all kinds of things the simple stuff gets missed.

We are introducing technology to the students to engage and motivate them so that they can use the technology (that engages and motivates them) to demonstrate their learning. It is one of many tools that we use to meet their needs.

Why is this so important to me at this moment? It is so important to me because part of preparing these students for the 21st century involves them learning how to use technology to meet their goals, to exceed expectations, to think differently, to be a part of the digital age - to be technologically literate, to strive for more, to be part of a global community rather than a local community, to make a difference, to transform the world in which they live in.

I was talking to someone today about our iPad/iPod project and they were fascinated. Sadly, their fascination was about the technology that the students would be using and not about the growth that would come from the technology they are using. I watch my students as they use the iPod touches I have in my classroom - I ask them about their experience, I ask them about their excitement and get answers like: "I didn't think I could read that word" and "we have an anchor chart about this". The technology excites them and motivates them and it provides me, as their teacher, with formative assessment about their learning and the opportunity to extend their understanding. It is a great springboard that helps me move their learning in a positive direction. It helps me meet their needs - no matter where they are or what their needs are.

Great things are happening in classrooms all over the place without modern 'technology'. Anchor charts, success criteria, word study, guided reading, problem solving, and collaboration are some of the things teachers are doing with their students that are allowing the kids to learn and to think differently than they did 10 years ago. The addition of modern technology items like mobile devices, touch screen tablets and social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are powerful tools to get students to release their knowledge and creativity in ways never before seen.

Times have changed and society is shifting...transforming... and we need to work on making sure our kids are as prepared as we can make them.

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