“Hmm…”

index Indeed, in all of my courses I am learning new information, skills, and trends in education, but none of them are as mentally overwhelming and stimulating as learning about the integration of technology in the classroom.

I am learning about this integration of technology in Ed. Media Apps. The integration of technology is just what it sounds like–using technology in the classroom to amplify teaching and better learning. The thing is, there are so many options out there in terms of technology. That’s the overwhelming part. I mean, a month ago, Google was just a search engine, Google+ was this boring thing my friend from Hungary showed me, and Google Docs and Drive were things we made in high school because the computers were as old as we were and apparently were prone to viruses from USB drives (What are those things even called anymore? Thumb drives? I’ve always just called them “USB’s”). Now I’m learning that Google makes virtual reality devices. When did that happen? I swear I haven’t been living under a rock. As I have stated before in this post, I didn’t see much technology while in primary and secondary school. Now that I, a future educator, am exposed to the many options and wonders of integrating technology into the classroom, it’s rather overwhelming.

Technology as a whole is making a huge impact on education. There are many ways and models to integrate technology into the classroom, such as the SAMR model. By integrating technology into the classroom, students and teachers are able to explore their subject more–and faster. Technology allows for on-demand learning. Technology opens a new world of projects. Sure, posters were always fun to make…but what about self-narrated videos?  Further, teachers should really be on the lookout with a careful eye for new technology. Not only does it keep the teacher in-touch with their students both culturally and socially, but technology as a whole probably isn’t going to disappear any time soon. Technology is what kids are used to now-a-days. Why not bring that familiarity into the classroom? As I stated before, integrating technology into teaching gives students nearly endless opportunities to learn and grow. Of course, the “old” ways of teaching with a good ol’ white board and projects made of poster board don’t have to be thrown out the window–but let’s be honest, which of the following sounds both fun and educational: making a poster about a country or researching  a country, looking up local places on Google Maps, and then making a green screen video explaining signification locations in the country? I’m not trying to swing your vote here, but I’m liking the sound of the latter option.

Now, integrating technology sounds fun, fine, and dandy, right? But..how does a teacher do such a thing? How can they if they don’t have the support or funding? Where do they start? When does technology stop becoming educational and start becoming just for fun?

Those questions overwhelm me a bit. Technology can be a wonderful thing in a classroom if it is used correctly. There are many, many things out on the Internet that are complete garbage, but there are many, many more things that are useful. It’s all about knowing where and how to look. First, you can Google it! Trying looking up educational apps for students. If there is someone out there who is knowledgeable about technology integration in the classroom (like Mrs. Brogley), consult them. Search for other teachers in your area–or not in your area–who may be having the same issues, or search for teachers who have integrating technology successfully into their classrooms and ask them how they were able to do so. Search for conferences on the topic (or many just the hashtag of a conference) and follow the conversation. Use technology to learn about technology!

 

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7 thoughts on ““Hmm…”

  1. I like your last paragraph in what you are referring to as building your PLN! You have a great start! I agree that it can be totally overwhelming, but just keep trying new things and you will be on the right track. When it comes to technology, you must be a life-long learner as we want our students to be! Keep on going!

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  2. Dear Jessica;

    I am a teacher on the other end of a career in education, more than 15 years in a classroom, and another 10+ as a principal. Now a technology coach, I have considered the value of integrating technology hundreds of times. But gone is the question “Should I?” Students are so deeply embedding technology into their lives that I MUST use technology to bring ideas for learning to them. Sure, it is fraught with complications like privacy, and just crappy content, but instead of trying to pretend the junk is not there, I have taken the road to put myself in those places, too, and point out to studenst that, while it may interest them, it isn’t feeding their minds with the stuff that will feed their souls and make them leaders of the free world someday. They get the analogy of junk food, and I tell them that it should remain a small part of their daily media consumption, not the bulk of it.

    Another point I make is that technology can be a great distraction, and if they don’t have any idea what they want to accomplish (today, this year, in a lifetime), all of that content becomes a great way to hide from facing up to it. Sure, our destiny might just walk up and pinch us on the nose, but aimless media consumption might cause us to miss it, or fool us into thinking we don’t have time to follow those opportunities.

    As educators WITH technology, our role is to help students demand more from their devices and web providers. Cutting consumption isn’t the answer, but we can and should acknowledge the potential of even the most basic technology and model the way it empowers us to accomplish more and communicate with a wider audience. WHAT we communicate is a personal and powerful choice, and something no global citizen should take lightly.

    Scott
    Germantown, Wisconsin USA

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  3. I get how overwhelming it seems! An easy way to integrate technology in a higher level thinking model with teamwork has been around for a long time — webquests! They usually require students to take on a “role” to solve a problem. To find one, google the word “webquest” along with the topic you want to work with such as “american revolution”. Then be sure to check how recent the webquest is and check all the links to be sure they are current. As in anything on the internet, some webquests are better than others, so be sure to check the content, but much of the technology work is done for you. Good luck!

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  4. Hi, Megan! I’m Kris Mccoy, an Instructional Technology and Information Specialist (aka librarian) at Mineral Point Schools. I really enjoyed reading your post and felt like I could see the wheels turning in your mind. As a fellow educator, I am happy to learn that you are struggling with these issues and trying to find a way to use technology to increase your students’ learning. One of the best things about all of the new technology options out there is that it keeps us on our toes, and we have to be learners which in turn makes us better teachers. Good luck in your education and career! Remember to work closely with your school librarian – they love helping teachers find new ways to integrate technology and information resources into their teaching. 🙂

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