Will you be able to help your son, daughter, peer, student, co-workers, or teachers innovate for the future?
From First Post to Now
As I looked back at my first post, I feel like I'm still in the same place. I've always been pretty techie, I've always used tons of technology applications, and the course I took enhanced my knowledge. I also looked at using technology from other viewpoints - How do you manage a class of students who are using technology? How do you convince teachers to try new things? How do you deal with tech support? What do you do when you see teachers or students who are doing it wrong. A big issue of mine is being too critical. I need to let people do their thing. Of course there is a learning curve, and I need to be more willing to accept people who are trying to do something new.
I really enjoyed this class, and I really liked doing something I think I'm pretty good at. I liked looking at it from a Professional Development standpoint - How would I teach teachers how to do this in their classrooms? Since a lot of the students in my class hadn't been teachers before, I think they will be surprised at how students are willing to try anything that gets them away from watching lectures and doing handouts. Ultimately, who does me learning how to implement technology in the classroom benefit the mo
Innovate, or Get Out of the Way!
I was reading Garth Holman's (my professor and now friend) blog, TeachersForTomorrow.Net, and he had an interesting article about his time teaching Grad Students. It was especially interesting to me, in that I've taught students, worked with Graduate Biology Teaching Assistants, taught high school, and been in the position of being in grad school. He talked about his student's reflections on technology, and you can read the article, but here's the comment I left -
"The new teachers, the successful teachers, the teachers who are going to make the big bucks in the future, are going to be those that are not only WITH the times, but AHEAD of the times. No longer will the old geezer teacher be able to use his mimeographs from 1976 to teach.... Teaching is going from "teacher-centered" to teacher-led, and the teachers who just want to stand up in front of the room and do a powerpoint are going to be short lived. I get excited with each new contact I make, each website that has a new technology I can tinker with, and with the innovation that our 21st century promises. Whenever I hear a teacher say, "I don't know how to do that! Help me." I think, "You better learn how to figure out the answer to your questions without asking the teacher! Google it, youtube, it, collaborate - DO SOMETHING, but if you sit back and helplessly hand raise - you're going to be out of a job!" And our students are not dependent on us as "the keepers of the information" anymore. It's exciting, it's scary, and it's the future. Teachers need to innovate, or they need to get out of the way!!!"
I've been in the reality of having a teacher-peer who used mimeographs from the 70's. It even had the domains of the animal kingdom wrong! He was sitting in his classroom, doing what was easy. And I know some, if not a lot, of teachers who are making the big bucks at the end of their careers, who want to just ride it out. And riding it out is not working for our students. In order for our students to innovate, to make money, and to compete on a global level, we have to get away from what's easy. We have to use new technology. We have to collaborate GLOBALLY! There is a change in the system that has to occur. I'm not saying I can single-handedly fix education, but I sure can sit back and be quiet and easy about it! Technology makes information available to every child in America, and it's moving globally. Teachers have a DUTY to be ahead of the game. We have a duty to not take the easy road, we have a duty to do what's best for our kids. I love education, I love that I have a platform to share my ideas, and I LOVE technology!
How to write a blog.....
If you were to just Google, "How to write a blog," you get 707,000,000 results. There are a ton of people out there who want to tell you how to write, how to make money, how to get seen, and how to put a blog together. For the purposes of a technology class, or really any educations type of class, I think I could offer some suggestions (that have probably already been suggested a bazillion times).
If you're writing your blog for a class, DON'T WRITE EVERY TIME "Today in class..." Who wants to read your blog, knowing you were just doing it because you HAD to? How will that blog help you in any of your future endeavors? If I want to use this blog professionally, AND I TOTALLY DO, then I should use my blog like I'm writing for my readers. I want my readers to know, "Amy totally knows her stuff when it comes to Biology and Technology. I can see by all the categories that she writes about, that she is knowledgeable and professional and has some serious skills!" I also have a writing style that somewhat reflects the way I actually talk and the way my brain actually works. So, as I'm sure you can already tell, I'm hilarious and fun to be in a room with, all the while taking care of business.
You also need to limit the amount of content you copy and paste. Copying a few lines and linking to where they came from is fine and dandy, but turning your blog post into the FAQ from the technology's page is worthless. If I wanted a manual, I would go read the manual. What I want from a blog post is opinions and real world examples of how the technology is used. I'm a Biology teacher, so I write about how I use, could use, or did use the technology with my students, with my peers, with my teaching assistants, with fellow teachers, or in a classroom or professional development. I try to use personal examples of what I've done, what I've seen, and how I did it. That's what makes this blog different and special, and worth checking out.
By having the opportunity to check out 25 blogs from pre-service teachers, current teachers, and people who are interesting in (or terrified of) technology, I have seen some great posts, and some really sad posts. I have seen great writing style, and I've seen people who can barely string together a coherent sentence, which makes me sad that they are going to be teachers. I found one thing that really surprised me - I checked out the blog of a pre-teacher whose second language is English. Even with a few grammar mistakes, she wrote so beautifully and eloquently, I was just amazed. Since I have attempted to learn a second language, and I know how hard that is, I was just dumbfounded by her amazing grasp of English, and her insight and beautiful style. I could only hope to be so fluent, and so eloquent. Just WOW!!!
Why is it important for students, teachers and administrators to have technology standards?
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) offers a framework for students, teachers, and administrators to improve teaching, learning, and leadership through technology in education. The site describes the digital age we live in, and how - as society changes - education must change. Students have to be prepared to collaborate beyond the walls of their classrooms, just as today’s business leaders reach out globally. And to keep up with the changing world, teachers and administrators have to prepare the students for jobs that may not have even been thought of yet. Teachers and administrators must lead in new, innovative ways - and they have a duty to keep up with professional development and changing technologies.
Standards for Global Learning in the Digital Age
"Educational technology standards are the roadmap to teaching effectively and growing professionally in an increasingly digital world. Technology literacy is a crucial component of modern society. In fact, the globalizing economy and technological advances continue to place a premium on a highly skilled labor force.
Education Must Change
As technology dramatically changes our society, educators need to demonstrate the skills and behaviors of digital-age professionals. Competence with technology is the foundation.
Transforming Learning Environments with Technology
Today’s educators must provide a learning environment that takes students beyond the walls of their classrooms and into a world of endless opportunities. Technology standards promote this classroom transformation by ensuring that digital-age students are empowered to learn, live, and work successfully today and tomorrow. "
How I feel about The Standards
I have always been a HUGE advocate of standards - technology based or otherwise. If you don't have a map, sure, you'll drive around for a while, you might happen upon some cool stuff, but how do you KNOW what is out there? When I used to teach Biology at a high school in Texas, there was another teacher who was considered to be one of the best Biology teachers. Whenever you walked into her room, her students were doing some project or pasting leaves on the walls or drawing something cool. Come to realize, she taught her students about plants the whole year. She loved plants, and she never taught anything else. Sure - it WAS Biology, but what about all the other aspects of Biology like cells, DNA, the environment, ecology, etc??? And just because her students were cutting out pictures of leaves, and drawing plants, doesn't mean they know anything about plants biologically.
Just because the students are banging away at a laptop, doesn't mean they are "becoming proficient at technology." Students, teachers, and administrators need to know what other people are doing. They need guidance and activities. They need ideas and inspiration. And they need to know how to launch our students into learning with 21st Century skills.
Teaching is not just standing in front of the students, lecturing and memorizing facts. Teaching is a whole new profession, where we are learning coaches - facilitating the students as they think critically about real world problems, and collaborate to solve the problems.
Amy Hollingsworth is The Natural Science Biology Lab Coordinator and Part-time Lecturer. She is also working on a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on STEM education