Yesterday I had the opportunity to test drive our new mobile labs. My students are coming in next week & I wanted to try them out before school begins. While I'm glad this gave me the chance to work out the bugs (username & password don't work) I began to think about tech in general.
A few passing things have been said this week about technology; being referred to as a toy & that teaching isn't happening when technology is being used. Initially, these comments were greatly irritating but I now have other thoughts.
Technology is misunderstood. While many devices have been created for recreational purposes (iPod, Smart Phones, social media, etc.) there are practical & creative educational applications. We educators can use any of those devices / outlets to teach children literacy, numeracy, & inquiry skills. Using them is no different than using paper, pencils, Scrabble, crossword puzzles, Yahtzee, playing cards, food, etc. They are all tools & resources.
I can teach children how to determine importance (reading skill/strategy) in a book, commercial, or online. I can teach children how to write engaging leads to hook their audience (writing skill/strategy) with pencil & paper, Twitter, glog, or website. I can teach them how to determine the effect of the past on the present (historcal thinking skill) a picture book, role play, or YouTube video. I can teach them that a rock's use is directly related to how it was formed (science standard) through a picture book, commercial, experiment, or trip to a quarry. I can teach them how to create & or analyze data (math skill) with markers & graph paper, Excel, newspaper, or Crappy Graphs. The tool/medium may be different but the skill /strategy/standard remains the same.
Isn't this the beauty of technology? It allows us to provide yet another way to meet the needs of our students? Another way to engage them? In some instances, it allows us to meet the needs of ALL of our students at once. Jackpot!
Technology is a TOOL.
Have a SPARKLING day!