Friday, May 18, 2018

Becoming An EDTech Fan

    Truth be told, I never thought I would be known as a "technology enthusiast" when it came to the classroom.  I thought I would be known more for my content knowledge.  However, as I began to interview for positions and received my first teaching job as a long-term sub for one semester, my department chair and principal said that my aptitude with technology was a significant factor.
     Then this past year, I have been spending more and more time finding new edtech tools.  Nights are spent scouring the web and learning how to use new pieces of technology to meet the needs of my students.  I moved beyond what was comfortable for me in exchange for what was best for students.  I am not perfect, but I am continually hopeful that I am growing.  Here is how I did it and how you can too!

1. I met with my ITRT/Tech Coach
My principal had our team connect with our Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) on a monthly basis to teach us all more about technology.  The apps he showed were way more relevant than a simple slideshow.  It helped me find ways to have students create authentic products.

2. I watched and talked with other teachers
There are a lot of innovative teachers at my school.  They are consistently looking for cutting edge ways to develop our students as learners.  Conversations during my planning and after school with some of these teachers about how they were using some of their tech tools helped spark ideas for me.

3. I reached out to others in chats
Twitter really has changed the way I teach and that applies to edtech as well.  Seeing how other educators across the globe use technology to transform learning is inspiring.  They expose me with new tech tools and also some older ones that I had forgotten about.

4. I made it work for my students and me 
A fork will not transport birthday cake to my mouth, my brain has to tell my body to move the fork toward my mouth so I can enjoy its heavenly goodness.  You don't use a screwdriver for a nail.  One of the realizations I had with edtech is that there is not a single tool to solve all issues.  There are some who believe that technology will replace teachers.  I think they forget that tech is only a tool.  A powerful, transformative tool, but again just a tool.  It is the job of the teacher to apply that tool to promote student learning.  This means that if I saw how someone was using a tool, sometimes I would try to copy how they did it.  Most of the time, reflection helped me think of how to make it work for my students.

     I've been honored how people on Twitter have made me feel like edtech expert, but the reality is I am an edtech neophyte.  I am learning the ropes, but am incredibly excited along each step of the way.  As my division moves towards 1:1 next year, I am thrilled to utilize the tools of edtech more frequently.
   Our students will be using technology in their futures.  If you are not an edtech fan yet, consider  exploring this component of education.  It will be good not only for you, but for the long game of your students!

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