Just a Techie being a Techie

I love computers, I will admit I spend hours up hours in front of my computer not only at school but at home as well. Sometimes it’s just for checking social networking sites or email, sometimes it’s for writing my sci-fi stories and sometimes it’s for coming up with new ways of bringing technology to my students. We all teach what is required by our curriculum but don’t we also tend to focus on the things that excite us as well? That’s computers for me.
We stand in an age of change in between pen and the keyboard. In my view it’s time to walk that line as educators bringing just enough of each into the classroom. Sure we tend to be separated into three groups, those who hold onto those pens for dear life not ready for them to be unglued from our hands, those who have fingers melted to the keyboard from hyper-speed typing (I fall into this category!), and those educators who are the role models to the rest of use and have found their balance on that high tight rope separating the old from the new.
Why technology in the classroom? Why care? Why find that balance between the two instead of going all Office Space on that new Dell Desktop or using those pens as missile launchers at the ceiling? Tech is becoming more and more prominent in life, whether it is being thrown into schools, available at home or in a job. A majority of jobs now require use of some sort of computer whether it’s something small like a calculator or a full server. It also is a great collaboration tool getting students to work together for one common goal of preparing students for jobs that require more than sitting in a closed off cubicle mumbling aimlessly like Milton from Office Space (2 Office Space references! new record!). Also..and this is for you techies like me who are constantly asked for computer help from family, we can create a whole generation of adults who don’t need to ask their kids where the power button is or how to use their phone if we start teaching now. Save a new generation of kids the parent aggravation!
OK, so I’ve tried to make the case for real world application of technology but what about our own little ecosystem we call a classroom? What can it do to make everyone’s lives better? Being a music educator I only have 40 minutes with students per class period, it takes them 30 seconds to look up an answer on a net book or Ipad than 5 minutes in one of my old dusty textbooks that have become a resort for spiders while they sit on my shelf!
Another reason is as my students put it “We’d rather learn it ourselves than listen to you!” You might say rude, I say motivated. I would rather give them a problem to solve and let them go at it then have them listen to me talk anyway, being a facilitator why they use tech to learn themselves about required concepts rather than a speaker can make a huge difference on whether or not they walk out of the classroom with that still stuck in their heads instead of being dumped out in the trashcan by the door. Don’t PUSH them by teaching it, give them a project and the tools to complete it so they have to PULL themselves up to a level of understanding.
This is my favorite reason for using technology to enhance learning because it’s why I use it too. They allow you to go global. You don’t have to just us words and make students imagine what you’re talking about, technology allows you to take a sledge hammer to those walls surrounding your classroom and break them down! Show students that whole world out there that they can reach if they just try. Use your computer and show them Carnegie Hall, play a Youtube clip of a drum circle in Ghana give them motivation and fire to learn all they can about everything.
So why use technology in the classroom? It’s awesome, It makes everyone’s lives more interesting, it helps improve understanding of concepts and pulls students to learn and it prepares students for the future! Go Technology!

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