I sent a text message to a friend taking this subject this afternoon after looking through Module One for this topic and it read something like this –
“Technology is INSANE”
… but in a good way.
I am no digital native, I grew up just computers started to become more common. I remember playing minesweeper as a kid, and I remember when we first got the internet and I we used AOL and had virtual pen pals, and damn, it was brilliant. I don’t know about anybody else but for me I feel as though technology has advanced so quickly that it’s overwhelming to see how many options there are to use in teaching.
I’m really excited by the idea that learning environments are now not restricted to the traditional classroom, library or study in the home. Incorporating learning experiences in day to day life, through the use of technology, doesn’t just encourage greater enthusiasm for meeting specific outcomes for school subjects, but promotes an intrinsic desire to learn within individuals – which to me seems to be a more desirable long term goal than simply learning to meet certain outcomes.
I get this image in my mind of teenagers sitting at bus stops using their iPhones to comment on a blog post, reading school material on iPads and using social media networks such as Edmodo or facebook to actually discuss school work and assessments with their peers. Gone are the days of telling teachers you didn’t do the assessment because you “lost” the assignment sheet or because you forgot.
To me the greatest benefit of these technologies seems to be that by expanding our learning space we are giving students the tools to really succeed in whatever it is they want to succeed in. Having everything online and a method to discuss/ask questions outside of the classroom means that students who may have struggled in a traditional classroom can find their own way of learning suited to their particular way of learning.
To conclude, and back to my earlier mention of not being a digital native, I think the most practical way for me to look at the use of technology in the creation of a teaching and learning environment is to pick one program, for example wikis, and focus on using those in the classroom. It won’t help me grow as a teacher, or my students learn, if I only gain a superficial knowledge of how to make use of technology.
I’m going to look at my classroom learning environment as a deflated balloon. Slowly, over time and through perseverance, the goal is to inflate the balloon so it grows to be a spacious and inclusive learning environment for all students.