Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reflecting on technology in education

I am always amazed at the latest technology "gadgets" and how they are used in the classroom. Brave are those who try these new resources and are able to apply them to useful instruction. Technology integration is no stranger and has been around for some time. The gadgets change over the years, but the concept of using technology in the classroom to engage students and motivate learning has always been the same.

Summer is a time for vacation, relaxation and reflecting. I enjoy this time off from the structured work schedule and find myself doing a number of things that I overlook during the school year. Recently, I took on the task to clean out some hardcopy files in my attic. Coming across old research papers that I had written for my masters in technology course, I sat down to read what I had studied and documented eight years ago. Time has changed many things, yet the messages throughout my papers were the same as if I had written them today.

As educators, we are still looking for the perfect way to reach our students and adapt our teaching styles to their learning styles. As I glanced through the pages, I saw that I wrote sentences which stated that students should no longer be expected to listen to a long lecture, read from textbooks, or copy information from blackboards as the only way to gather and retain information. I quoted authors such as Eric Hoffer who intuitively said that, "In times of change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." I love that quote!

Well, I didn't get much cleaning done, but I reinforced my ideas on technology integration and adapting to our students in the 21st century. Using technology in the classroom to enhance student learning has taught me to appreciate the student as an interactive member of the educational process. As educators, we must remember that in addition to using technology, we should never lose our imagination to inspire our students. We will only come to realize the endless potential of technology in the classroom if we continue to imagine the possibilities. With the start of each new academic year, I get excited about the opportunity to open the minds of our students and unveil their creative thinking. Technology allows them to participate in the process and contribute on their own level. Anything is possible.

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