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This blog has been posted to iCivics' website: https://www.icivics.org/news/playing-it-forward-impact-impact-projects
Check it out! :)
So let's talk about "technology in education".What does that mean exactly? Years ago, when I began learning about technology, (and rapidly teaching about it as I grew in awe of how it could improve performance), Dr. Chrys Panayiotou Sr., a valued colleague and respected professor took the time to explain to me how the origins of the word, "technology" actually stemmed from the Greek word, "technologia”. A quick search confirms that the first part, "techne" may "be interpreted as skill or craft and ‘logia’ the comprehension of knowledge. Technology can be seen as a process that is handed down through society to transform and improve our lives" (Selwyn, 2011).Think about that. Just like my colleague had described, that could essentially be interpreted to mean any tool which changes lives for the better!
The slate and chalk? Quill pen? Gutenberg's press?
Ok, so let's advance to the meaning we all think of today when we think about the word "technology". Today, we think of digital technology, right?
We see a plethora of digital technology everywhere we look. And people are using that digital technology. All generations, all cultures, all economic statuses have proven to be able to and want to learn from that technology.
Hmmm, so if it’s “everywhere”, how come we don’t see it infused into all segments of education, the field which is the foundation for all other fields?
Here's an awesome timeline of digital technology's exponential growth: http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/23941/Evolution-of-Educational-Technology/#vars!date=1960-12-20_07:35:36! (This is yet, again, another fabulous resource compliments of Dr. Curry, my first professor in Morehead State University’s Educational Technology doctoral program,who is inspiring me to continue in my quest in becoming the best version of myself. In the first video lesson I watched of him, he described educators as being “servants”. As I pursue bettering myself, I've become keenly aware that the more we give, the more we get.) :)
The most current definition of Educational Technology as of today (and let's remember the "exponential growth concept" in case it's different by the time I finish typing) may be defined as: "Educational technology... is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources" (Richey, R.C., 2008).
Wow! "Ethical practice." There it is again, defining education. It is the practice of finding and using the best resources we can to change lives for the better.
To me, that seems to be a perfect way to define what great teachers strive for. According to respected collegiate circles, a good faculty member "teaches, researches, and serves" (Merrill, 2000). There it is again. Makes sense to me. Most teachers I know, especially our Adult Ed team, went into teaching because they truly cared about their students... not necessarily to be rich . :)
I have had the pleasure of teaching Technology in Education to future and current teachers and, therefore, have the opportunity at the beginning of every term to get the students to think exactly about what this means to them. We go through the eras of technology use with examples from sand being used on a desk for students to learn the art of writing, to the use of pencils and posters, on up to the digital era.
Then, I take my students through the exponential growth of the tools within this era. I clarify that from this point forward when we speak of technology, we will be honing in on digital technology. To my delight, the students have evolved from ~60% a few years ago to 100% of them now walking into my class saturated with technology in their pockets, on their shoulder and/or hanging from their ears. They BYOD (bring their own devices)! :)
Conversely, I also recognize a profoundly slower evolution in students even considering that these tools can be used in the classroom, disproportionate to the rate of technological growth. In fact, it reminds me of the Harry Chapin song which describes how students’ creativity is plucked from them: “There are so many colors in a flower, so many colors in the morning sun, so many colors in a flower and I see every one;” but, the teacher says: “Green leaves are green, young man. Flowers are red. There’s no need to see flowers any other way, but the way they always have been seen.” And, there you have the summation of what I read between the lines that my students are telling me. They are not “allowed” to have cell phones, iPods, iPads, tablets, laptops, or anything else they can Google knowledge from in a classroom. They learn from these tools all day long, but are told to power-down upon entering an educational facility. In fact, they are also shocked about how little technology still exists within the classrooms they grew up in and/or their children’s classrooms once they get into a few lessons with me.
My joy comes in watching the transformation of them throughout the term. A good portion of them become crusaders ready to energize their classrooms with the same technology that invigorates their everyday personal lives. But, perhaps, showing you might clarify what it’s all about. Here are some final projects (FREE lessons :)) from my students this year. The first was created by an ESL and grade school instructor. The second incorporated civics into her lesson. Sound familiar? :)
This is what it’s about. Technology’s exponential growth is not as important as the impact we can make on other’s lives exponentially when we use it.
My purpose? Make a Difference, positively impacting our communities. Looks like this is a right fit for me! Not most different than most of the wonderful teachers I know. :)