Why I Use Technology In My Classroom

There are a lot of arguments to be made about pedagogy and edtech. We could have a long discussion about the SAMR model. We could talk about the many reasons why technology could never replace teachers. We could talk about how much time students already spend in front of screens.

But today, I just want to talk about why it is so important to find ways to incorporate technology in our classrooms because if we really want students to be college and career ready we have to embrace the fact that their experience is one we cannot truly predict.

My own experience with technology: 

Yes, it is true that I barely remember life pre-personal computer in my home. In middle school,  I was able to recreate the sound of our dial-up internet perfectly. By high school, I thought I was the queen of the AIM Away Message. In college, I had a LiveJournal and my college actively campaigned to be added to this new social networking thing called "Facebook."

But in school, I only took two classes dedicated to computers. I remember them both vividly. One was a typing class, they put these cardboard covers over the keyboard and we had to type away blindly. I spent an entire semester of my life where one hour a day was spent just typing. My average speed is 65 words per minute and I wear that badge with far too much pride.

Then I took "Intro to Computers" where I learned how to use Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher (Is that still a thing? Does it exist?) I learned how to change the font size, change the margins, use a hanging indent, and save the file in several different formats.

That's it. That is all the formal education I got on computers from school. Everything else I know I learned because I had to in order to survive the job market.

I graduated college in December of 2007. It was a terrible time to have a BA in Political Science and only customer service jobs on my resume. I took any and every job I could, often working multiple part time jobs at once because that is just how the world was in 2007 for a new graduate.

But I moved up quickly with almost every job I had and the reason was always because of my ability to adapt to technology. For example, when I started working in property management I moved from sales to accounting because of my ability to quickly learn accounting software. I should point out that my experience with math had been one of failure (I had to repeat a math class in high school and it was devastating) but once I was able to prove I could quickly learn the technology needed for the job, I found myself managing multiple properties at the age of 23. I credit that quick rise to two things: hard work and an ability to adapt to technology.

They didn't offer classes on the software, I had to figure it out on my own or get left behind. But that tech grit helped set me apart and helped me keep a job that put me through my credential and masters program so I could ultimately do what I was passionate about: teach.

I tell this story because it is the reality our students will face. When we talk about making technology as a part of making students college and career ready, it is not about ensuring they know how to use a specific list of digital tools. It's not that our students need to be Microsoft experts or Google certified, it is that they need to be comfortable learning how to use technology on their own because that is what they will face in the real world, no matter what job they have.

So in my classroom, technology is something I feel compelled to use in a variety of ways so students can learn and develop their tech grit. No, technology cannot replace outstanding teachers and no, you shouldn't use technology just to say you used technology and no, technology is not the most important thing in my classroom (that will always be relationships.) Like any part of a good lesson plan, it is a piece of something bigger, something more thoughtful and complete that helps the student achieve a learning goal in a meaningful way.

What are your thoughts on technology in the classroom? Share in the comments.


Popular posts from this blog

Why I Am Leaving Canvas LMS for Google Classroom

Grading Practices Mega Post

Lesson Reflection: Peardeck + What is History Class?