Is it just a wave that will die over time?
I can see a good number of us (for whom digital technology is a foreign culture) cringing at the sight of the word technology. But there is no need to fret: teachers in the 21st century should be prepared to learn from their students especially with regard to new media technologies. The traditional theories of teaching are being challenged. The new generation of students is socialized in a technology oriented culture. Some would probably have learning styles that are techno-centered, and we stifle their performance with our ancient text-book theories and teaching methods. Those who graduated in the same era as I, in 2000 or even before, in a developing country would know there is every reason to be scared at the mention of the word technology. But I can assure them, (I mean seriously) use of technology is a skill that can be learnt and it is not as difficult as we may think. The secret? Passion, commitment and practice! Here is a beautiful summary of the teacher-technology hype, with some bit of sarcasm.
As I sat in the lecture room and listened as the assessment outline was explained, I began to think ‘this is not for me. It is too technical’. And yes, I did consider dropping that subject. But my inner child kept whispering, “you don’t want to be stuck in the past, do you?” Need I spell out how much of a struggle the subject was for me! I am so proud I made it and this blog is my ‘testimony’. Now I see how technology would have helped me back then when I asked my students to write compositions about their painful life experiences. Blogs, and social media would have been wonderful platforms to facilitate interaction with online communities and the troubled students would have realized they were not alone in those situations. Professor Simon Haslett developed these marvelous slides on using Social Media for Teaching.
To new beginnings!
Thanks to technology teachers are now just a click away from solutions to their problems. They can collaborate with one another easily, connect with their students better. The list goes on. Of course it is not that simple. Teaching in the digital age has its own challenges. How do we ensure that our students do not get distracted by the ads and other moving images that clutter our screens when we launch our search? Do these students have the skills to evaluate the plethora of information from search results? To me it appears teachers have to be on their toes… I hope to hear from the community that will participate in this blog what their experiences and views are about this topic: Teaching and Technology. Right now I am having a great time ‘sitting’ in the classroom and believe me, the level of discipline required to stay on course and not get engrossed in celebrity gossip is high. We have to keep learning, or our students are going to overtake us on the way. Things are changing and they are changing fast, which is why there is need for teacher development. Check out 5 Reflections for teachers for a heads-up on how we can become tech savvy.