The saying ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’ really hit home to me this morning as I began my usual routine of getting up early to get a jump on my day. As I was getting dressed, I noticed my wife’s cell phone on the floor in a peculiar place. Upon further inspection I noticed that our dog had entangled himself in the charging cord and was about to take her phone for a little ‘walk’ of his own. I immediately thought to myself, ‘This has got analogy written all over it,’ and the pieces of the puzzle slowly slipped into place.
I’ve been meaning to add to my blog for several weeks now, but I didn’t know exactly what to write – that was until I saw it wrapped around the neck of our dog Diego.
Has technology really gone to the dogs? (Ironically enough, I used my computer to double check and make sure I was really using that idiom the way I was intending and sure enough ‘Gone to the dogs’ means that something has gone badly wrong and has lost all good things that it has had. (http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/gone+to+the+dogs.html)
Has the use of computers, technology, the internet, and mobile devices really benefitted our students or have those things become so much of a distraction that they no longer serve the purposes for which they were intented?
Well, here’s the answer. (Well, at least my answer.) Being involved in education since the 60’s (I know, you’re asking yourself right now, ‘How old is he?’ Well, I did begin my schooling in the late 60’s and I did have two parents who were in education, so I’m counting that too.) I’ve seen educational trends come and go. Something that is being introduced as ‘New and Improved’ is really recycled from a previous era, but with a new twist. Technology is quite a bit different from many perspectives, but I do believe it plays an important role. Here are my top three:
Number 1 – A Technological Future: As much as I enjoy playing the LP’s I bought back in the day, I don’t see too many of my students stuffing a record player in their backpack so they can listen to the newest boy band. Our students want to use the technology they have around them to learn about what is important and relevant in their lives. True, sometimes they tend to stretch how they are using it, but it is up to us as educators to blend their interest into the learning in our classroom.
Number 2 – Networking: Learning to develop a network of people who can make a difference in your life can be critical in shaping our attitudes, and might I also say, our personalities. Whether it’s a Facebook message from a friend, or conversation you read on one of your feeds, I believe the groups we choose to surround ourselves with can bring us up when we are feeling down and give us a perspective we often don’t have ourselves. As a teacher, the groups in which I belong (either virtually or in real life) are the ones I turn to for support, help, and even guidance. Our students should also have the opportunity to learn the value of communicating with others to help them in their daily lives.
Number 3 – Transparency: As I talk to my students about the good old days and education, the concept of ‘receiving a grade’ has never been more clear than what it is today. Both parents and students can determine exactly what the student is earning for a grade with just a few clicks of a mouse. In fact, if you have the correct notifications on your mobile device, you don’t even need to do that as that information can be directed to you as soon as a teacher has entered it into the system. Never before in education has it been so easy to see exactly what grade a student is earning.
Technology has come a long way in a very short period of time. Not everything we do with technology is as productive as the next thing. However, I firmly believe that the more we can demonstrate, share, and use technology to enhance our education, the better off we can be to prepare our students for a future where technology will be a huge part of their lives. In the next few blogs, I will address how I use my role as a computer teacher to reach each of these goals. I hope you will tune in and find out.
Have a fabulous week and feel free to comment if you have anything to share.