When I look back at my own progression with technology, I am immediately reminded about my return to work after taking 8 years for family leave. For my last grade, (before giving birth), I had handwritten their reports. They had a carbon copy, that would be put in their file at school, and the original was sent home with the students. The worst thing you could do was make a spelling or grammatical error, because that would mean re-writing the whole thing again!
When I returned to work, almost every teacher had a laptop, they all had work emails, and there was something called the intranet, which involved drives with different letters. I thought I only had to catch up with curriculum changes. Hah! There was another whole teacher based curriculum that I was required to learn and learn fast! It was beyond overwhelming!
There is no doubt that technology has shaped my professional learning in an enormous way. Professional development is always linked to online learning, whether it be links to related resources, suitable clips or just email contacts for further learning. As the Program for students with disabilities co-ordinator, I use the internet, apps and email every day. This does have a nice balance with face to face contact with teachers, students and their parents. For my Art lessons I accessed you tube clips for students on related topics, and not being one with an art background, I have managed to found loads of ideas, activities and inspiration on sites like Pininterest, google images and facebook pages.
As a teacher, though, I still feel daunted (frightened even) by the incredibly fast pace of developing technology, which was a key reason for me signing up for this course. I know I lot more than when I started, but I also know what I don’t know, and there’s a feeling of- will I ever catch up? Don’t I need to be on a par with my students, if not ahead of them? ( I’m probably in my last decade of teaching, and although now part time, I hope to return to the classroom full time before retirement. )
I’d say the answer to my question is -yes.
The nastier side of the technological world is regularly highlighted on the media. Tragic consequences of cyber bullying, financial rip-offs and scams, effects of foolish facebook posts, plagiarism, mis-information-the list is endless.
My golden rule is “ If you are going to post something online , assume it is there for anyone to see, sooner or later.” Privacy settings can be changed without notification, and when you are a teenager, your friend today, may not be your friend tomorrow.
It is common practice now for employers to look up prospective employees on facebook or twitter. I am pleased to report that, that particular message is getting through to most of our students, (or so they tell me!)
On reflection, I realize that my access into the world is governed ,( or perhaps supported is a better word)by the internet and its associated technology. Need to purchase something? Research online, read reviews, find the best price. Going on a holiday. Trip advisor, google search, and certainly book my own flights on line. What’s for tea? Epicurious, taste.com , here I come.
And how did I not know about the http v https thing? I shop online frequently! Time to check those sites!
I like the idea of the digital citizen, fostering respect and understanding in the online world . As an educator, we play a vital role in developing this in our students.
As I write this, I can hear a news item in the background about Australia’s possible mirroring of the US in trawling through facebook and internet browsing in the interest of national security. Mmmm…
My five chosen characteristics of an effective learner are;
Being inquisitive – technology offers a world of resources and knowledge
Being resilient – if at first you don’t succeed try and try again.
Being reflective – think about what you are doing and how you are using technology, is it the correct way? Is it safe? Is the source or tool reliable and the best choice?
Being respectful – very important in any field, think before you do or say at all times. This is an extension of developing a tolerance for different opinions, styles of learning, and learning rates.
Being persistent – if it doesn’t work one way then try another.
It can only be exciting, with lots of WOW!
We are given little tastes, via You tube clips and news stories on television. And they are mind blowing! Virtual screens, (who needs a TV?) imbedded chips under the skin (EWWW!)
The world really is at our fingertips. And it is definitely smaller. However when I consider the sadness and inequity in the world, I hope future technologies can go a long way to fixing some of multitude of issues that face humanity. And let’s not forget the environment!
My other concern is the increasing amount of time we all spend online, and what this means for families, general health and face to face connectiveness. I am like anyone else, and sometimes it’s all too easy to retreat to a virtual world a little more than I should.