Ok, here goes….
My own progression with technology is coming on just fine. I am learning about new concepts and using them with new programs and apps. I feel like I am keeping ahead of my children (10 and 6), which enables me to guide them towards technology that is appropriate and educational, as well as engaging.
Professionally my mind has been broadened, to the possibilities of creating a technologicaly inclusive classroom. Not having my own class at the moment, I some times have felt a little bit out of step with other PLN participants. I am still however finding tools such as evernote helpful in recording my observations and storing articles. I no longer print off interesting articles to “read sometime”, only to find that I can not find them later.
As a citizen, technology has impacted me greatly. My smartphone is never far from my reach, I electronically share my life with family and friends in distant places daily, ‘google that will you’ is the call from my friends around the table as they know I will already have my fingers ready to type, the majority of my banking and bill paying and shopping has been online for years and ‘a workout never counts unless you log it’. As a conservative online citizen, I am careful to only use secure sites, and secure networks (watchout doing a bit of banking online while travelling, even Qantas Club network has been hacked), only publish photos that I would be happy for my grandmother or employer to see, restrict where and when my children can go online and encourage my child (10) to question who they are really communicating with.
As a community, technology has made us smarter consumers, which in someways has jepodised small local businesses, who have either not embraced technology or not created a point of difference between themselves and the ‘majors’. We can access so much more, and crave so much more. I am thinking that this is not always better, as people can become very resentful of what they do not have instead of what they do have. The advances in technology mean that children see the newest device as soon as the aquire a device of their own, the ‘needs’ escalate.
As an educator,modelling any aspect of citizenship is important. Technology just adds another layer, another skill set to teach. Modelling technology best practice needs to be compulsory for educators, as the society that our children are entering into is so reliant on its citizens to be tech savvy.
My 5 effective learner characteristics are , organised, focused, curious, flexible and optimistic.
Organised – keeping digital copies of documents, filled appropriately will reduce the paper trail that I can easily trip over.
Focused – Sometimes I find that technology is a hindrance to keeping me focused, as I can easily get distracted by alerts etc. To switch off the sound on all devices before buckling down to work can help. Using timing devices (Pomodoro), are a very useful tool that not only keep you focused, but give you scheduled breaks.
Curious – Access to the WWW allows the learner to follow links to all sorts of places that they would sometimes have no idea existed.
Flexible – Utilizing programs like Google Chrome and Evernote, have enabled me to access sites and documents from various devices. Being a mobile educator across a p-12 campus, this has been invaluable.
Optimistic – Sometimes the amount of technology available can be so very daunting. Stumbling across amazing sites and articles daily can only be a stimulus for optimism. Searching the WWW, is like following a trail of gemstones.
I can not even start to imagine how we will be learning in the future, but I am sure that educators will still be required to work with students personally, not just through technology, because we, as a race are sociable animals. I can already see a change in how technology has integrated within the classroom after 12 years out of the teaching system. My own children are happy to use educational apps at home, but dread ‘homework’. The more we can engage our students the better. One downside that I have noticed is the increase in impatience. We can have access to so many things with a click of a button, that when something takes longer than a few minutes, it becomes ‘too hard’, ‘boring’, ‘not working’ etc. We still need to get out and plant gardens and watch them grow slowly, build Meccano and struggle with the fiddly pieces, cook from scratch and appreciate the ease to with which devices have sped up the cooking process, and ride real bikes not just visit virtual skate parks. Technology has not only changed how we learn, but how we live. As educators we need to show children a balanced life.