May I sharpen my pencil, please?
Everything that we do at school seems to be immersed in technology. I understand the definition of immersion and I feel I am using it correctly. Here’s the thing I think about… When students are working on a written assignment and they break a pencil lead, they simply sharpen the pencil. If students are working on an assignment online, and the computer crashes, it is a crisis. If students can’t log on to their computers or to a specific program, they become frustrated. As with anything we have to model to students ways to balance all things that come with learning technology.
I love all the new technology my school district has invested in. How wonderful to give students and teachers the opportunity to use the best of what's available now. Technology management seems to be taking a lot of my time and that's okay. Transitioning to a technology rich environment definitely involves a paradigm shift in education. As someone who has taught for 20 years, I sometimes feel unprepared to make this shift. Even though I have gone to a technology conference, viewed webinars and have tried to learn everything I can about the technology I must use while teaching, I still feel unsure and maybe even a little afraid of all that's out there. Maybe you do too.
Part of the conference that I attended this summer focused on the role teachers will play in the lives of students who are, as coined by the keynote speaker Marc Prensky, digital natives. He says that teachers have to be able to let students be the experts and that we don’t have to understand or even know how to use all the technology that they will be using. This is the paradigm shift I wrote of in the previous paragraph. I’m the teacher, I’m supposed to be the expert in the classroom. Oh, I understand that it’s okay to say to students, “I don’t know.” And, I have said that to students. But, if I’m the expert on content, I probably should not say that very often. How often will I find myself saying that related to technology? I wish I knew the answer to that question.
I titled this blog post, “May I sharpen my pencil please.” Do I want to go back to a time when there was no technology to aide in teaching? I really don’t. Honestly, I’m not sure my arthritic fingers could write all that I want to share. It’s so much easier to type my message. It seems I must put aside my longing for the days when I could simply say, “Yes, you may go sharpen your pencil.”
The link below is an interview of Marc Prensky. Enjoy!
Marc Prensky and the role of teachers