After reading Ashley’s post reflecting on the first week of school, I started to think about my own first two weeks (teacher work week and the students return week). The first and obvious thought for me was “I survived!” In spite of all the changes, all of the new faces, and a reluctance to say good-bye to summer, the beginning was pretty spectacular. But there is also a sense of being overwhelmed. There seemed to be a common complaint in regards to the new technology being implemented. Interestingly, this concern was not just from teachers, but the students as well.
I totally understand that sense of trepidation of adding a new initiative to our already full plates. There are many times when I wonder, “How will I get it all done?” But as I tell my students and my own children, if you attack it one thing at a time, it will get done. Granted, I wish I could finish one task and feel confident it is working smoothly before I take on another. But life moves quickly and so must we.
This year, my school division has implemented a new grading and attendance software. In addition, my school has taken on a new online homework communication system. Personally, I decided to take things one step further and pilot the new Google Classroom app. Admittedly, it is a lot at once. But I believe these tools will offer a better classroom experience for my students. While on the front end, there is much to learn, I will be saving a significant amount of time over the year. I know some of my colleagues are skeptical, but I do believe that these tools will help better organize me and my classroom so that I can actually spend more time focused on teaching and learning. I feel that this technology, coupled with a positive attitude, is going to improve upon the success that is already present. It is easy to stick with what works, but I am hoping to make it better.
I realize that technology is sometimes out of the comfort zone of more established teachers. I am hoping that my exploration and use of these new technology initiatives will ease the minds of others once they see it can work. Ideally successful implementation in my room will inspire others to give it a try. Let’s be honest, technology plays a huge role in our lives and it is here to stay. Our challenge is to find ways to make technology useful.
While I realize I could do even more to bring technology into my classroom, I want to clearly state that I do not believe technology can or should replace good teaching. Technology is a tool which we must use, but we must also focus on appropriate implementation. Technology should not replace humanity. Like everything else in life, we need to strike a balance for optimal learning. My new uses of technology are currently geared towards organization and communication, but I continue to use and search other appropriate applications for learning.
For some new ideas about technology in regards to teaching and learning, you may enjoy reading There’s no app for good teaching.