Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Taking the Initiative

It is my belief that in order to improve education and bring it to the level it NEEDS to be at; technology is an essential element that should no longer be ignored. Schools are quickly taking the initiative to integrate technology into their daily habits. It is an initiative that I believe will make it possible for more students to excel in school and in the real world. It will prepare students with skills and knowledge that are essential foundations for life-long learning. It is important to remember that integrating technology into classroom instruction means MUCH more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective technology integration must occur across the curriculum in numerous ways; ways that enhance rather than impede the learning process. Technology integration needs to support active engagement, participation, interaction, feedback, and real-world connections. This can be achieved when technology use is routine and coincides with our curricular goals.

It is important, that we, as teachers, support one another in this process; a process that can be intimidating to so many. In order to build a base…a foundation…that allows for the integration and application of high-quality, challenging, high-motivating, and effective technology resources, we need to become aware of what these tools and resources are…we need to learn how to use them (by attending workshops, professional development conferences, research, online tutorials, etc.) AND we need to take that scary step that propels us into a world where students are no longer passive receptors of information…a world where students can do so much more.

When students are using technology as a tool or a support system for learning and communicating with others, they are in an ACTIVE role rather than the passive role of recipient of information that has been traditionally transmitted by a teacher and/or textbook. Once we provide students with the opportunity to use technology they are able to actively make choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows students to be actively and critically thinking about information and about making choices, more so than in a typical teacher-led lesson.

But like I said previously, this can be a scary step. Why? Because it means that our roles as teachers must change. Rather than simply dispensing information, we fulfill the role of facilitator. We set project goals, provide guidelines and resources, and offer support and suggestions. But students are taking the driver’s seat.

The realm of teaching is changing and evolving at an extraordinary rate. Pretty crazy.

The following picture was taken in a classroom in Ethiopia. They have began an initiative called One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Very cool.

Image from wiki.laptop.org

No comments:

Post a Comment