Yesterday we had a staff meeting and to be very honest, I felt it was our most productive staff meeting we have had thus far. I am blessed with some pretty remarkable colleagues. For the past two months there has been some major issues with the technology in our building. A majority of the complaining was justified, especially when teachers couldn’t access their grade books to input grades or show students reports. My principal, who is an amazing administrator, advocates repeatedly for us, and has our backs. Today our school counselor sat us down and discussed with us how we need to stop being so dependent upon technology. She referred to a bit that was on Nightly News with Brian Williams broadcasted Wednesday, November 30th. It discussed a school that thrives on Not using technology in the classroom and throughout the whole school. Now, this was a hard pill for me to swallow because I love using technology. Another colleague and myself were just given the green light to look at smart boards and I am excited. On the other hand, as I watched this video clip and listened to what my counselor had to say, I decided I needed to make some immediate changes in my classroom and how I was instructing my students and what I was truly using technology for in my classroom. Our counselor gave us a message, and that was to remember we are the experts in our classroom, not the computers we are so desperately wanting to work. She talked about how technology should be an extension of our teaching, not let the technology do our job. Yes, this makes sense to me, I am not going to argue the point she is trying to make. I am guilty of whining and trying to spend 20 minutes getting my computer to work (now I have one that is pretty close to brand new). In addition to her discussing how technology needs to be extension of our learning, she also talked about how if we focus too much on trying to rely on technology, we lose touch with our students and the valuable relationships that need to be built with our students. Again, it makes sense, I hear the message loud and clear.
Now, the message may be loud and clear, but I love using the online tools that are available and I am not an educator that “relies” on technology to make my lesson plans, but I want my students to get with the 21st century. It is hard to believe, but I do have students who don’t have a computer or the internet at home. Is it not going to be essential for my students to be able to work with computers? Ummm, of course it is, a lot of jobs are revolving more and more around computers. I also know my students have a great deal of difficulty with problem solving skills. Could their lack of problem solving skills be due to the fact they have a lot of information right at their fingertips? Nevertheless, I won’t completely change my philosophy on using technology in the classroom, but I know I want to do a better job of reaching out to students who are hungry for an adult to have a relationship. I need to spend more time having in depth conversations and giving my students the necessary skills they need that a computer or any other piece of technology can’t give them. So, I encourage all of my fellow teacher friends to use technology to enhance your learning and not replace it. Furthermore, try and reach out to your students and build a valuable relationship with them and let them know they have someone they can trust.