The past few days I have been riding the “Schools must go high tech!” horse as if I am some kind of tech geek.
I am not. Yes, I own an iPad and I blog and I have a cool website for all of my books, free stuff, and so on, but really, I don’t view myself as cutting edge.
I view myself as just doing the bare minimum of what I need to do in order to keep pace so that I can continue to professionally evolve and remain critically responsive to the aims I hold for my career.
Matter of fact, I still don’t know how to work all the functions on my phone, my camera or even my laptop.
I’ve been using Microsoft Word for what, 20 years now? I still don’t really know how to do about a million things in that program.
Truly, the capacities of these machines boggle me. I just kind of know what I know and seek to stay comfy in that realm.
Essentially, I don’t prosper; I survive.
However, I am perpetually feeling forced to either evolve or be left behind. Trust me, a big part of me is WAY more conformable working at a whiteboard with novels using oration and paper and pen to navigate my school year. (Bubble tests and scantrons… forget it!)
Yet, I also know that literacy has become so diverse and there are so many genuinely legit projects to bring into my classroom which just rock the house and demonstrate aptitudes which allow me to meet my goals in so many ways that I believe in my heart that if I do not better embrace technology in the classroom I am doing a disservice to my students. (The degree of this slight is up for debate… but to simply not use any tech at all feels to me as if the kids are being short-changed – especially because the only real reason I would not bring some tech at some point into my classroom projects is my own inability to work in this realm. It’s never the students that inhibit me from bringing tech in the classroom… it’s me! My own inability prevents kids from using their abilities. That’s a thought worth taking note of for, does it not, ring true, for many, may teachers? Why are we so afraid to admit our shortcomings and also say, “Hey, I need help!”?)
Matter of fact, I think a driving force in me buying an iPad was a feeling of being left behind which is ironic because, when I look at public education on the whole, people must think I am at the far end of the technological competency curve.
That is scary because in many ways I am an outright oaf with tech tools!
It just goes to show how far behind our schools are. I guess the old saying is true: In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.
Tech has a definite place in the 2010 classroom. It’s not the end-all, be-all and it isn’t the panacean answer that people would want you to believe (probably because they are trying to sell you something when they say it)… but technology can help us evolve.
And when you look at how much room for improvement there is in public education today, it’d be great to see the common core standards tethered to the idea of project-based learning as opposed to it being tethered to, what we all fear will be, standardized bubble tests.
No, I am not a tech geek. And I’d be laughed out of one of those tech conferences if ever I was forced to show how little I actually do know.
But I understand the idea that when we preach “you must be a lifelong learner” in our schools, the first person that must embody this idea is me, the classroom educator.