Where are we going?

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Where are we going?  This is a question that every teacher must ask themselves on a regular basis.  Where ARE we going?  Look around you…pay attention to your surroundings.  What do you see?  After viewing the video “Did You Know” (McLeod, 2011), I pondered that very question, “Where are we going?”

As a society, we are immersed in technology and digital resources.  It is our current way of life.  At the very least, we must, as individuals, be equipped with “computer literacy” where we “have current knowledge and understanding of computers and their uses.”  Greater still is the need for “information literacy,” where we know “how to find, analyze, use, and communicate information.” (Shelly, Gunter, Gunter, 2012).  So, what are we doing, as teachers, to fulfill this need in our students?

“Are we doing what is best for our students, or are we doing what is most convenient for us?”  Karl Frisch commented, “Our schools are designed for the convenience of the adults, not for the needs of our students.” (McLeod, 2011).  Human nature tends toward doing what is comfortable – what is familiar – the traditional.  But is that right for our kids?  Are we really preparing them for what’s out there?  We must integrate technology into our current curriculum by providing our students with necessary digital equipment and willing teachers who are ready to move forward into this digital world we live in.

In my current assignment as a media specialist, I observe teachers from both ends of the spectrum – those who say, “Bring it on!” and those who sheepishly reply, “I don’t know about this.”  For example, three years ago, we acquired Mimio boards for every classroom on our campus.  We attended the training.  We viewed online webinars.  We shared ideas.  But after three years, there are still some of our traditional-minded teachers, fabulous teachers in their own right, who are not using the new technology as an integral tool in teaching the curriculum.  Is it fear?  Lack of time?  Insufficient knowledge or support?

And then, suddenly, it came to me :  I am the captain of the techno-cheer squad!  I see where we’re headed…I know we’re doing what’s convenient.   I need to do whatever it takes to better myself in order to be the resource my team deserves.  And together, we will do what’s best for our kids!

So, what do we do from here?

  • Recognize the need for our school to move forward technologically.
  • Work closely with a willing administrator who wholeheartedly embraces technology.
  • Set modest and attainable goals and reach these goals one step at a time.
  • Collaborate and provide professional development opportunities for the teachers.
  • Get parents involved in the process.
  • Actively acquire funding for new projects.
  • Never stop learning!

Our kids are depending on us to help them become “productive citizens in an emerging global economy.” (Shelly, Gunter, Gunter, 2012).  It is our responsibility – our duty – to ensure that we prepare them for their future.

References

Classroom clipart. (n.d.).  Computer clipart. [Web clip-art].  Retrieved from http://classroomclipart.com/clipart-view/Clipart/Education/17-5-07-37_jpg.htm

McLeod, S. (2011, August 4).  Iowa, Did You Know?  [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1JyLYphevc

McLeod, S. (2007, May 1).  Well? What’s Your Answer?  [Web log post].  Retrieved from http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2007/05/well_whats_your.html

Shelly, G., Gunter, G. & Gunter, R. (2012).  Teachers Discovering Computers:  Integrating Technology in a Connected World (7th Ed.).  Boston, MA: Course Technology.

T., Shayni. (2012, July 15).  TeacherFiles – A Free Educational Resource.  [Web clip-art].  Retrieved from http://www.teacherfiles.com/clip_art.htm

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About chanks777

I am a computer lab teacher and media specialist in Ocala. I have returned to school after 23 years of working out in the "real world." I am married with two wonderful daughters. We have two dogs and two cats. I love to read, travel, and spend time with my family.

6 responses »

  1. Your blog is interesting. Ironically, since I am new to blogging, I was more interested in your blog and how you composed it rather than your content. lol. Still, you provided an interested excerpt from our text that clearly answered ‘the question’ when you referenced the fact that kids are counting on us to teach from a global perspective as we prepare them to be productive citizens in this 21st century. Sometimes I agree with the statement that our schools are designed around “conveniences of adults”. For example, this blogging thing here is presenting some discomfort. I imagine it will until I reach that point of equilibrium when learning takes place and thus causes this discomfort to subside. I can imagine many educators feel the same way and avoid technology altogether because of this discomfort. You blog was a charge to me to remain commited to this process of life long learning.

    here is a copy of my blog. http://conniegoodman.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-is-best-for-them-or-us-rhetoric.html

  2. “But after three years, there are still some of our traditional-minded teachers, fabulous teachers in their own right, who are not using the new technology as an integral tool in teaching the curriculum. Is it fear? Lack of time? Insufficient knowledge or support?”

    I believe that it might be not exactly fear, but a measure of comfort level for those teachers. They might be comfortable teaching in their particular manner, and to integrate the technology into this makes them a bit nervous. While this is a natural occurrance, it still needs to be addressed. Maybe the teacher can have someone work with her on one of her lessons that she normally teaches and integrate the technology with it, to let her see how the lesson changes and improves. It could also be pointed out to the teacher that including the technology can help keep the students’ attention to her lesson, making her job a bit easier.

    On a side note, I have never blogged before this class, but I am very impressed with your blog. It is full of color and life, and I may have to update the design of mine to add those qualities.

    Thanks

    Anthony Roma

    • Anthony, I appreciate your comments tremendously. I do see that it may not be fear, but just a lack of comfort, which goes along with the notion that teachers tend to do what is convenient. My goal, as a student again, is to gain some great ideas and knowledge to be able to go back to my school and help alleviate the nervousness that exists among some. Teaching by example and side-by-side is a superb idea – I believe this is a great teaching strategy for our students, as well.

      I am new to blogging, as well. I do, however, love colors and graphics, so that’s why it looks the way it does. We’re in this together. :o)

  3. As media specialists, even if we don’t also teach technology, we are still the “hub” of the school (technology or otherwise). The media center is the forefront of technology. We’re the ones teaching and guiding our fellow educators on how to use and implement various forms of instructional media into the classroom.

    I should make a poster with your “So, what do we do from here?” goals. Collaboration and professional development, parental involvement, and continuous learning are important. I would emphasize “Set modest and attainable goals and reach these goals one step at a time.” That is the key to not becoming overwhelmed: one step at a time.

    • We are definitely the “hub” of the school – the resource center – home base, so to speak, and it’s important that we really stay current and relevant in order to be vital to our teachers. I love the point that you made about setting modest goals. I believe that one reason why teachers may do nothing to advance the curriculum is because there is so much available to do that it does become overwhelming and we do nothing. So, how do we accomplish such a task? “One step at a time” is the goal. And thanks for wanting to make a poster – you flatter me.

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