“Technology should be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible.”
This has always been one of my go-to quotes when deciding whether to use technology in my classroom. I admit that I have had a little bit of a biased view towards ed tech after visiting lots of classrooms where the vibe seemed to be “Hey, my students are using computers, so therefore this must be an awesome lesson!” all while students spent an hour messing with the font on their power points. I have seen the equivalent from the teacher standpoint: the assumption that smart boards and apple TV automatically make for a better educational experience for the students.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the potential that technology holds. The idea that students have the ability to access content faster and with greater depth, to individualize their own learning, to connect to their community and world. But, I ask myself, will technology make this lesson better? How? Or am I just using it for its entertainment value? Or even worse, am I using it for a distraction for my students? Call me a skeptic, I guess.
Our students have now had their iPads for about 7 weeks, and I am happy to say that a little bit of my skepticism fades away every day. There have been some frustrations, yes. Two times during the first week that students had their iPads, I found myself taking a deep breath and saying calmly “Ok. Put your iPads in your backpacks and take out a pencil and paper” (let’s just say that trying to get 6th graders to log in to Google classroom for the first time gave me a few grey hairs). However, I have seen glimpses of the immense potential that technology holds. The potential to erase socioeconomic divisions between students and their peers. The potential to teach life skills and connect students to their world. I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey with my students. I’m learning to love technology.