My attitude about technology in my classroom could be characterized as cautiously optimistic. I definitely don’t think of myself as an expert tech user but I’m excited at the things I see others doing with tech and want to know more. I am also very happy teaching with nothing but my colorful markers and a flipchart. My GLAD training imbued me with a deep and everlasting love for color coding, anchor charts and sentence strips(long pieces of paper you can cut into sentences, phrases, words, syllables, phonemes!) Although these are effective instructional tools I know that it is important to keep growing my practice and skill set to meet the needs of my kiddos.
It has helped me to think of myself as on a continuum of technology comfort and use instead of as a “techie” or “non techie” type of teacher. I can place myself at the beginning (shallow end) of the continuum without feeling guilty, overwhelmed or sad. Growth mindset, baby!
This is sort of how I’m picturing it in my mind. You may recognize some of these attitudes about tech from your own experience or in teachers you know
Identifying where you fall on the technology integration/comfort continuum might help you move forward without throwing your laptop out the window or wasting so much time you now have more work to do. That helps no one.
At the beginning of the year I would have rated myself at a 2. I used Word, Publisher, Powerpoint, and Youtube without major incident. I used these tools to make my students learning experiences incrementally better but could get the same return from my old school tools most of the time. Technology wasn’t only not impacting student learning greatly, it wasn’t help make my teacher-work easier/more efficient or of a higher quality.
When I was trying to identify how to move forward on this continuum I looked for places I felt I had some skills and routines established already. I also looked for opportunities to increase positive impact on student learning. I asked myself questions like
What will this tool allow my students to do better? What will it allow me to do better?
“Better” can mean many things like more efficiently, sustainably or in a deeper more meaningful way. A few technology tools I’ve started using more and have helped me make my instruction BETTER in meaningful ways include;
- Shifting from learning journals for morning messages to google docs
- Moving from paper gradebook to google sheet for my grade book (I am not ready for excel, don’t push me!)
- Video as a research source for students
I plan to elaborate on these in April’s post so check back if you’re interested in hearing how these things have changed my students’ experiences and my own.
Where are you on this continuum? What has helped you move towards regular, meaningful implementation of technology?