How’s it going everyone!
Well, just like that, our EC&I 830 class came to a close. In the past couple of weeks, I learned some incredible things I was completely overlooking about Ed.Tech. Before taking this class, I often struggled to successfully find useful and innovative ways of integrating technology into my classroom. What I found was that without acknowledging some of the potential issues technology can bring into a classroom, Ed. Tech. can go from being an incredible learning tool, to simply a nuisance.
But we can’t look at technology as a nuisance though. Tech is not only a revolutionary tool, but it’s also an integral part of Western life, woven into the very fabric of our society. Although devices and social media can be distracting and can sometimes lead to bigger social problems for individuals (such as cyber bullying, anxiety or depression), we need to prepare ourselves with the proper knowledge, tools and resources to address these issues in the classroom. As teachers, if we aren’t keeping up with what our students are doing online, we’re only distancing ourselves more from younger generations.
Most of us use technology in the classroom in straight-forward and “traditional” ways. Whether we’re using tech to gather information for a research assignment, or using it to make our PowerPoint presentations, we’re not really challenging the limitations of this technology . These tools are capable of breaking down all sorts of walls and social barriers. We can see and talk to virtually anyone around the world, at lightning fast speeds. And now, with virtual reality taking the world by storm, we can even “GO” and see anything and any place we want. I mean, how crazy is that? Imagine “going” to MARS with your class at the end of your space unit? That’s pretty crazy.
The SAMR model is definitely something I’m taking away with me. We can use these tools in various ways to help us, but unless we’re trying to “redefine” the way we put these things to use, we might as well just be using a pen and pencil.
SOURCE: Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D.
Technology has advanced so quickly in the past decade, that many of us are sort of just getting up to speed with the whole thing. I believe that for this exact reason, many of us are having a hard time understanding just how much of an effect this is having on society. Many of us judge the youth of today for obsessing over their smart phones and not going outside; but truthfully speaking, we can’t expect these kids to be outside playing with sticks the way we did when we were kids. First of all, why play with a stick, when you have devices that can virtually make anything possible? Sure, kids may not be using their imaginations in THE SAME WAY we would have twenty or thirty years ago, but maybe…just MAYBE, given the right circumstances, they could start using these tools in more productive and constructive ways than we could ever imagine. It’s also important to put things into perspective: What if WE had these tools when we were young? As much as we judge kids these days, chances are, we would probably do the same things these kids are doing right now if we were handed a device. Furthermore, do we even know what kids are DOING with tech? For all we know, they might be blogging, coding or participating in a social upstanding movement. We really can’t be judging unless we are proactively learning about the things they are doing. Even social media doesn’t always have to be the demon that we play it up to be.
For me, the common theme that emerged from all of the debates was adjustment. I believe that society needs to be embracing these social changes, learning from them and understanding them as much as possible. Right now, we’ve got a large portion of our society that is resisting tech, but if we want to fully realize technologies potential, we need to set it free.
For my final assignment, I made a video showcasing my summary of learning for this class. I focused on some of the bigger issues I found the most important in our weekly debates, including some of the things I just mentioned.
I would like to thank all my readers and all of my classmates. You all contributed greatly in my learning this semester, and if it wasn’t for everyone’s engagement in the class, I’m sure I wouldn’t have come out learning so much.
I hope you all have a great summer and I look forward to seeing all of your final projects as well.
Good luck everyone, and happy summer!