Technology and Me: Tech Task #1

13 01 2010

Welcome!  For some information about me, please visit the Who I Am page.

And so begins this exploration into technology and its many uses within the classroom.  When I was a child, I used to think that technology was a burden.  It was the enemy of the great outdoors which I loved so dearly.   I found it scary.  I can remember looking at a picture in a National Geographic of the first personalized hovercraft built and feeling a teary sense of dread.  I was young, and felt certain that this meant that in no time everyone in the world would be driving hovercrafts and the world would suddenly turn futuristic, like in so many of those movies I had seen.  I certainly did not understand then that it is not only the hovercrafts and robot vacuum cleaners of the world that count as technology, but rather every tool of convenience and communication that we use.  Well, it’s been a few years and I think I can safely say that I’ve warmed up to technology in a big way.  I still get to ride my bike in stead of helicopters and robot flowers haven’t taken over my front lawn, so I’m feeling good.

When I was in elementary school the top of my computer education was All The Right Type.  That’s not to say I didn’t love it!  But that is basically where it stopped.  In high school, I wouldn’t say that the landscape of my computer education really changed, but that outside of school through my friends I became more of a technological junkie (in the loosest terms possible).  I went on msn while I did my homework, learned how to edit photos and create collages on the computer, and began getting most of my research information from the internet.

Now I am at a place where I have opened my eyes to the enormous possibilities of using and becoming familiar with many types of technologies in daily classroom life.  As Michael Wesch suggests, technology can be the bridge that leads to discoveries and types of social and technological literacy outside of the classroom walls.  I have seen six year olds keep blogs and comment on the blogs of others, use a cell phone to send text messages, and look up their favourite videos on the internet.  There is room for technology at every level of education.  The use of computer technologies does not mean the death of the books and papers of our lives, but rather provides opportunities to add to and deeply enrich the learning children experience.

I also believe that it is our responsibility as teachers to help children become technologically literate.  Not preparing them technologically really means that we are not preparing them at all for the world that they are growing up into.  Students will need to know how to use the internet for research, how to decide whether a website is valid or not, and how to be safe while using the internet.  There is no stopping the internet from connecting to their lives, so why not embrace it and help them to use it in a positive way?

Neil Postman said that “Every technology is both a blessing and a burden” (Technopoly, 1993).  In some cases I find this to be true.  While You Tube has provided a way for children to become engaged in a whole new mode of communication through video media, it can also be a base from which young students can end up viewing inappropriate things that children should not be allowed to see.  But the internet has never been an entirely wholesome place to start with.  While Facebook, Myspace, and mobile phones can be a positive way for people to connect, some complain that these are new methods of communication that children can use to bully each other out of the sight of adults, and that they can be used in potentially destructive ways.  Digital communication is also changing the way we speak, write and think…changing the language we use every day.  This is not a bad thing, but it should be recognized that it changes the landscape of all modes of communication both in and outside of schools.

From this course (Introduction to Computers in the Classroom) I hope to gain a solid understanding of some basic ways I can use technology within any classroom.  I am interested in learning what teachers of young children are doing anywhere in the world to use technology in revolutionary and curriculum-enhancing ways.  I hope that my instructor can help each of us make some connections with teachers who are using technologies this way.  I would also like to learn better ways of navigating the internet and some tools that I can use in my own learning to become a better researcher and collaborator.

I suppose I could also offer to learn how to write shorter blog posts!  I love to experiment with technology and can hardly wait to learn how to do this in a more efficient and useful way.

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One response

19 01 2010
Carmia Korsten

Interesting blog!

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