Forum Post: new teachers bring new tech

This is our forum question for the week in Educational Technology:

Q&A Forum: Please reflect on your own experiences as a student from elementary to college on the integration of technology into your learning.

  • What were the teachers doing (or not doing) to make technology integration successful (or not)?
  • As a students were you actively engaged in the learning and was the focus more on the technology and less on the content or vice-versus? 

My classmate Sharla Hoffert wrote this in response:

“When I was in elementary school, there was very little student interaction with technology present. Obviously the teacher used the overheads and we were allowed classroom visits to the computer lab, but none of the tasks we completed were very…worthy of having students spend time on, if you know what I mean. So, to answer the second question, focus was neither on content or technology as we mainly spent free time using technology. The only exception that I can think of would be the research projects that I completed starting in about the fifth grade, I did learn of useful technological tools to help with this area throughout school. Also, in high school I found my Microsoft Office classes to be a useful technological tool that I was introduced to. I know that when I receive my teaching license that I will be able to introduce students to much more beneficial uses of technology than I was ever taught, partially because there is more technology available for teachers to introduce their students to now but also because I believe that teachers are becoming more adept to using technology and sharing useful integration ideas with each other.”

This was my response:

“I really think that the key to the increasingly adept use of technology by teachers, Sharla, is in our very flexibility. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can learn to use these things, right? I mean, if I can talk my grandpa through setting up a wireless network in his Florida condo, teachers can do this. But I think that as younger generations step into the mentorship roles that society affords their young, we will see more inherent flexibility that is ingrained by the rapidly evolving nature of technology, the increasing cadence to which we cast off our fickle affairs with our gadgets, our apps and services in favor of newer ones. By this trail of wholesale technological slaughter we can trace the path of our progress to modern man/machine relationships and see how it has made us more accepting, not only of technology itself, but of instruction by others and of the idea that we can use something fancy without breaking it.

Now, the youngest of us not only learns to use these gadgets/apps/services, but they also learn early on where to go when they need to know something and they have the ability to manipulate these technologies according to established rules, or “paradigms“, of interaction and it’s so easy for them. As the new generation of teachers arises from their ranks, it’s natural that they would have access to more technologies not only because it’s available, but because to them, it’s more natural and new features are the free beer of the future.”

Does this sound like a fair assessment of the status quo?

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