As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m subbing as an educational assistant right now, just until christmas. This week, I was called to sub in a high school. I was so nervous thinking about it because even though I am studying secondary education, the last time I was in high school, I was a student! I’ve always worked with younger kids, whether it’s been field experiences, work, or volunteering. I was most concerned that I would have a bad experience this week in high school which would lead to a teary life-crisis moment of questioning my career choice.
However, it was amazing. Today was my third and last day there, and I was almost emotional! I connected with so many of the kids and I had such a great time. I was so sad to leave.
But, I had a funny conversation today with a teacher. She’s a great teacher, the kids like her and she knows her stuff. She was excited to hear that I’m becoming a teacher and we talked about the things that I’m learning. She takes her professional development seriously, and strives to be an even better teacher. However, when I brought up the idea of blogging or twitter, or the use of technology for professional development and integration into the classroom – she backed right off.
“I try to stay from that technology stuff,” she told me.
She explained that the kids learn enough of it on their own, and she doesn’t need to model that for them. She wants them to see the value in books and “traditional” means of education. Which is… good too, I guess.
But the world is an ever-evolving place. And there are so many incredible ways to use technology in classrooms that are still educational. Yes, your students all know how to use youtube, but are they using it to learn? To find videos that help them construct meaning in their world? To connect with other learners all over the globe? Probably not, because they don’t know how. Don’t you think you, as a teacher, have the responsibility to teach them how to do that? Or open their eyes to possibilities not yet seen?
Digital literacy is an necessity in the world we live in. It isn’t something we have the option to decide whether or not it’s important – it is. Don’t we want to empower our students to succeed in this world? If the answer to that is yes, then I’m not sure how we can say things like, “I try to stay away from that technology stuff.”
Larry Magid writes about youtube for schools in this article. He’s got it. It’s time to usher schools into the 21st century. Technology and social media are our world. It’s not a question of whether or not we should integrate those things, simply a question of how we will go about using those things to inspire and foster learning in our classrooms.