Sunday, March 21, 2010


I was originally going to call this post TECHNOLOGY IS ALWAYS CHANGING and CAN BE CONFUSING.....but then I was reminded......once again...that it is not JUST technology that is changing and can be is really the act of living that requires ALL of us to personally and professionally adapt to innumerable unforseen events and "things" that come along. So let me explain.....
Sometime late last winter, my day job school district changed the night of evening conferences from a Thursday in late March to a Tuesday in late March. I questioned the change in the printed school calendar but was told that it had to be this new way based on "fairness to other schools in the district." I sighed as I was putting the finishing touches on your syllabus and decided to go with an online class....I just can not get out of those conferences as the students I work with are at risk or struggling learners.
THEN.....JUST THIS WEEK....I start getting confernce schedules together from teachers and find that the conferences are NOW on THURSDAY after thinking to myself....What??()#$&%)#(%&#%*)&....and saying to a few people WHAT(#*%)(#%&)#%*&#)%*&? I found out that my earlier protests had been heard and that changing a school calendar was harder than making life fair,,......and so NOW I AM OK TO HAVE CLASS ON TUESDAY....
THE IMPORTANT PART OF ALL THIS BABBLE is that CHANGE is part of TEACHING and a BIG PART of life. How we adapt and accept those changes is the part that WE can control. So I guess.....this class...and these changes is just a metaphor for life...
as the African proverb notes:
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.


I admit that I am NOT as comfortable with technology as many of you ....but I am trying....and I know that TECHNOLOGY will be more important in your careeres than in mine.....even if the GROWTH of technology will have to embrace it or.....become obsolete....and who wants to become obsolete before their time? Not me....


Unknown said...

Technology and changes are very interesting to me and I am always intrigued to learn more things and do them more efficiently but I am truely a little scared.. Nowadays technology changes sooo fast and there is always a bigger and better way to do things that one can never keep up.. so once you are comfortable with one sort of technology, you are expected to know the new type of technology. So I guess you can never get too comfortable with technology and know that there is always a new type of technology to help you, so never stop learning!

Unknown said...

I completely agree with your view of technology. It sometimes seems like technology's influence has slowly and almost seemlessly gone from "assistive" to "all-encompassing". There doesn't seem to be much more left in the teaching profession that technology doesn't suggest it can improve. Even now with SMART boards, technology is even further improving the technology of computers themselves. Technology on top of technology is a scary concept. We are moving away from certain specialists being truly good with technology to the expectation that technology literacy, and even fluency, is becoming an expected norm.

Unknown said...

I too agree. Technology is no longer something we use only in medicine or the many sciences. It's also not just assistive. Technology is life now. So, if you believe, as I do, that education should parallel and prepare one for life then we are doing our students an injustice if we don’t embrace new literacies in our teaching practices. That being said, I certainly don’t embrace all uses of technology in the classroom and I approach these teaching methods with caution. For example, using IM to discuss texts or allowing students to stay inside during recess times for non-instructional time with laptops. I’m not sure this would be my approach. It is a complicated philosophical and social dilemma at play here and I find myself in the middle, sure that we must embrace all the opportunities that technology and new literacy afford us, but also sure that we are raising a generation of children who cannot socialize effectively. Again, I think I’d be cautious about removing the person-to-person connection that is present in a book club or literacy circle. For me, this might be a time when I put the laptops away. said...

I'm glad you once again bring up the need for "interpersonal skills" and the role "collaboartive learning" (previously known as playtime) in learning. This is a dilemma that will not be solved in my career; however, I hope that we do not have to go TOO far off track before we "self correct" and use the power of technology to enhance rather than to replace meaningful human interactions and learning.

Unknown said...

First, I added a general comment about technology on your wiki at:

What did you like about the Webquests?
I like the way that you can bring new content into your lessons – especially attractive and compelling stuff like videos, music and animation.

What didn’t you like?
I don't like how hard it is to research and find the right content and it takes special skills to put that kind of content together by yourself (who has time to become a part-time video editor?)
also, web pages change (and disappear) all the time. This has often frustrated my studies at Fordham when course documents contain resource links that no longer work. I would hate to put work into a project only to find that parts of my project don't work because of changes outside of my control.

Do you think YOU would try one with your class?
Probably not until my school has some kind of IT or technology specialist who could support me with the difficult tasks. Right now, there's not support structure of any kind.

What grades might benefit from this type of experience?
All grades! (see the wiki address above for one example of a young expert.)

How does this type of learning support diverse learners?
audio files; animated features; videos; graphical explanations; built in computer assistance for the disabled.

Did you see any features you would use in your own webquest?
- I liked some of the webquests for very young children because they were simple, colorful and informative for the very young. Those simple quests are probably as high as I could reach with my unsophisticated skills.

Do you think you could create one?
Not without the help of a technology guru.

Cyndy Jean said...

Since January 2010, I have "grown up" quite a bit. I will preface my comments by stating that there is a method to my madness, you will understand once this comment strand is complete.

January 12, 2010 shook the Haitian community. Since then, I have had to realize that life truly ISN'T fair. No matter what the school administrators say when defending their reason to change the school calendar mid-year, it isn’t out of fairness; it is more out of convenience. Life is a series of unexpected circumstances. Furthermore, as much as we don't want to make excuses for the unexpected happenings in life, we do - how else can we explain the "why’s" and "why not’s?" Technology is much the same way. We are at a time when we cannot live without it. How many times did I tune in to CNN to hear about the events in Haiti? Was it not cell phones that saved a number of lives from deep beneath the rubble? Just like the unexpected day on January 21st, technology can also confuse us, shock us; however, it can also save us. As an educator, I purposely post on my resume that I have SMARTboard training and that I am “proficient” at using Excel and Word. I do this because I know that school administrators are looking for these 21st century skills. How often have we prepared for a lesson observation that included technology – you know, for that “wow” effect?” Though we rely on the technology, we also know that going into that lesson observation, the computer can also fail us (that unexpected circumstance I mentioned earlier). As much as we rely on technology, we are constantly faced with making excuses for it as well. Technology isn’t fair, especially when we hear of how much damage it can cause in real life – identity theft, online stalking, etc. Our best bet is to learn to be flexible. So, when your boss comes and tells you that conference night is on Tuesday night instead of the expected Thursday night, we as educators are flexible. When the projector refuses to project the image from the book you planned to use in your lesson observation, be flexible – photocopy it too and bring that with you to the lesson observation as a back up. ☺ We can’t foresee the unexpected, but our best bet is to use the tools around us to help us “get-through” certain moments. Technology inside and outside of the classroom is the tool that often gets us through, especially if we are flexible.