Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Not an EdTech Guy

I'm often referred to as a "tech guy" or an "ed-tech guy" in my building.  I use a lot of technology in my class.  My 5h grade students maintain a class wiki, blog regularly, use web 2.0 tools on a daily basis, create podcasts and videos, network with each other on Edmodo, and spend plenty of class time working on-line.
Image:  twobee/www.freedigitalphotos.net

But I am not an ed-tech guy.

I don't spend much time planning on how to integrate technology into my classroom any more.  There was a time when I did.  I was an ed-tech guy then.  I'd take my kids to the computer lab and teach them how to use web 2.0 tools for the sake of using 21st century technology.

Now, I just share the tools that are needed for my students to learn and share their learning with others.  The technology isn't the focus any more.  It's just the way things are done in the 21st century.  We don't spend time planning how electricity can be incorporated into our lessons.  It's just there if we need it.  Technology needs to be the same way.

Last week one of my students came to me and proudly showed off two new origami animals he invented.  I was really impressed and told him that he should draw step-by-step directions to share.  I told him he could probably sell such a book if he created a few more animals.  His creations were really good.  He told me that he would rather make a video because he'd be much better at explaining things verbally.

That's when I showed him how to use the digital camera we have to shoot video, upload to MyBrainShark, and embed the video in his blog.

During the same day, I had a few students who were researching important events in the history of manned flight.  They were drawing a timeline by hand in one of the student's notebooks with the events on it.  They asked me to borrow one of our digital cameras in order to take a picture of it to post on the wiki when they finished.  That's when I took them over to a free computer and introduced them to TimeToast and XTimeline.

When we get right down to it, learning hasn't changed in the 21st Century.  Collaboration, investigation, trial and error, getting feedback from others, and all of the other great ways that we learn are still great ways to learn- just like they were when Plato was learning from Socrates.

How we are able to do those things has changed, and that's where we need to adapt as teachers in order to prepare our students for the world in which they are going to be living.  But our attention still needs to be on the learning and not on the technology.

So, please stop calling me an ed-tech guy.  That's not my focus.

I'm a learning guy who helps my students navigate the world in which they are living.

2 comments:

  1. Love this post! I feel exactly the same way. Not to mention, I don't know everything about technology. However, I don't have an aversion to Googling something to find out the answer. haha ;-)

    Found your blog through Twitter and look forward to reading more. Would love for you to check mine out when you have time. Cheers.

    Mrs. Lyon's Blog - Teaching: The Art of Possibility

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    1. Katie,
      Thanks for the kind words and the comment. There's certainly nothing wrong with not knowing everything. It just gives us opportunities to model learning for our students. Thanks for sharing your blog. You've got some good stuff on there! I'll be adding you to my Google Reader subscriptions.
      -Mike

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