I am not a lifelong educator. I am an adamant lover of learning in all forms, and this passion is what I believe led me to become a teacher, well that and summers off! I began my career post bachelors degree in a large Fortune 50 company and had the opportunity to work in several different functions within the company, the majority of it spent in business development. One of my biggest frustrations while working there was our constant shifting focus to chase the next initiative (or trend) being thrown at us. I felt like I never had time to master one thing or reach my goals before it was time to move on to something new. I (wrongly!) assumed I would be leaving that behind when I left and went into education. I now know that change is constant and priorities are a moving target no matter what industry you work in.
I would like to believe that through maturity and experience I have learned that it is important to be intentional and mindful about adaptation and incorporation when we are presented with new directives or ideas. It is through this lens that I am trying to view the upcoming trends in education technology. All of them are incredibly exciting, possibly revolutionary, and inform some of the decisions I will make about my classroom and my pedagogy. I, however, immediately jump to... "How can I do that?" "What would that look like in my classroom?" "Oh my gosh, this is SO COOL, I am going to start tomorrow, my students will love it." To help protect my students from the anxiety and frustration I used to feel when something new was given to me on a daily basis, I will be thoughtful and mindful about how I could see the following trends being incorporated into my 5th grade classroom:
It is exciting to be an educator at this point in time, we are on the brink of some amazing changes and advances in education. I am especially excited for the future generation of students who will be pioneers in the new education frontier.
The New Media Consortium. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report > K-12 Edition. Retrieved from https://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-cosn-horizon-report-2016-k-12-edition/
It is hard to imagine our world with out the technology aided conveniences that we have become accustomed to. As a 5th grade teacher, my students often look shocked and extremely sad for me when I tell them that my family did not get our first computer until I was a junior in high school, or that I did not own a cell phone until my senior year of college and that GASP!!! it only made calls and sent texts sans emojis. Today, I cannot imagine a world where Google is not within my reach to answer any question or wondering. I feel that the availability of information has made it easier for me to be a lifelong learner. As I have embraced the possibilities that technology can offer in my personal life it is imperative that I change my mindset about how I approach the role of technology in my classroom. I work in an elementary school that still has a no cell phone/no device rule for students as a whole. I have gone against this to allow devices in my classroom while respecting the school rule and not allowing them outside of my door. I often think of a powerful statement that I heard at a technology conference a couple of years ago, it was something to the effect that students engage with technology all day, everyday outside of our classrooms and to prohibit them from using it to engage in learning makes learning old fashioned, less desirable, not relevant to what is important to them.
I identify strongly with the constructivist approach to learning. I recently finished a graduate certificate program in mathematics from Boise State University where the emphasis was not just on math as a discipline, but through a constructivist perspective on how to help kids make meaning and relevance in mathematics, often this is done through authentic learning opportunities where the teacher is a facilitator not a lecturer. This shift in paradigm applies to my vision of how potentially powerful integrating technology in my classroom will be. My vision would be to provide authentic learning opportunities to my students and allow them to harness the power of technology to construct meaning in their world of the concepts we are learning about. I want to change the way that I think about teaching in my classroom, and hopefully be a teacher leader that helps other teachers change the way that they teach too. The 2016 NMC/CoSN Horizon Report on K-12 education discusses that one solvable challenge facing education today is to rethink the role of teachers. A teacher's primary responsibility is no longer to provide expert-level knowledge, but to construct learning environments that help students gain 21st century skills. At the heart of this paradigm shift is me! A teacher! I feel that it is imperative that I, and my fellow teachers, focus our efforts not on shaping excellent mathematicians or excellent writers, but on training a future generation of flexible, digitally literate, innovative, and collaborative individuals who will harness the knowledge and tools available to them and take us to places we cannot even imagine.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
NMC/CoSN Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition retrieved from nmc.org