Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Trouble with Technology (and Teaching)

I just finished reading a blog entry by Denise Krebs called "What Does Technology Have to Do With It?" and it made me want to write an entry of my own. (At the start of each school year I always vow to do this more and never succeed in doing takes inspiration, and I guess I don't see the inspiration to share in my every day "teaching".)

Here is what I see as a problem with the every day technology in our classroom:
We have yet to change the way we teach. Period.

Too many of us are looking to use technology to change the way we teach instead of changing the way we teach and then adding technology. Yes, it is cool when your colleague who is a few years from retirement wants to add a doc cam to his classroom and then uses it and tries to explore it. But really it's no different than when an overhead projector was used.

Unfortunately I am just as guilty of this phenomenon. And I am in my fourth year of teaching.

I grew up with teachers who taught us concepts and then asked us to practice them. It is easy for me to now do the same. Don't get me wrong. I am making efforts to change and am trying new things, but it is extremely overwhelming. There is so much out there and there are so many great educators that I am now connected to (through blogging, voiced, smarter science, and the verity of educators and education technology folk on my twitter account).

I give smarter science (and my colleague that first went to the work shop with me and got equally excited about it) the credit for the start of my changes. I am a math teacher at heart and have been teaching science exclusively since my second year on the job - so it has been great to be motivated about the subject and the job despite it really being a "second" love. It has shown me that we can use ways to motivate our kids to learn and it has given me the first few opportunities to stop "teaching" and start "coaching" (this is what I see as ultimately the change that most of our classrooms need - and I think would be a huge challenge when I get back into math).

So here I am. Excited. Motivated. Hopeful. But I still find myself teaching. And using the doc cam as a fancy overhead projector. And being scared to even begin to find something tech related to start with. because here's the truth - I may be seen as a "tech" teacher at school (people like to come to me to "fix" things when they are not working) but the REAL tech (the new apps, ideas, etc) has a learning curve that frightens me.

Hopefully we are able to end up with class sets of tablets at our school in the near future. Hopefully this encourages me to tackle something new. Because I still want to try.

I just worry that the technology will never be the motivator [of students] we are wishing for.

((I am realizing this entry is a little all over the map. For that I apologize.))

Or maybe I am doing this all better than I think. We are our best critics after all. And every time I go to any PD hoping to come out with a new tech idea, I feel less behind the curve.

1 comment:

  1. H. Lye,
    Thanks for mentioning me. I'm glad I inspired you. That is one of the sweet benefits of using technology--being able to connect and be inspired by people in far away places.

    I think you are right to worry that the technology will never be the motivator of students you are wishing for. People, according to Daniel Pink, are motivated by autonomy, mastery and purpose. We can set up those values with or without technology.

    Thanks again for coming to my blog, and for writing this great exploration of your thoughts! Now you need to do it more than every eight weeks, so we can learn more about this math teacher gone to science!

    Take care,