After spending the last few days working on a presentation for a conference and trying to present my argument for a shift in our teaching approaches in a way which is (hopefully) not too confrontational I've really come to realise that it's true.
At the end of the day does my classroom need technology in it to be innovative, to be 21st Century? In short the answer is no...despite my belief that technology used well can enhance a class's learning environment, making it more flexible, more personalised, more open. At the end of the day though teaching (and more importantly, Learning) will not be stopped in a room without technology.
So, if technology's not the key to kids learning, what is?
It's us...the teachers.
It doesn't matter if we're a graduate, a veteran with 30 years experience, a part-timer, a specialist...whatever, if we're doing our job we're:
- Engaging students
- Providing them with a variety of independent and collaborative projects to enrich their learning experiences
- Facilitating their growth towards independent, life-long learning
- Supporting them
As a technology enthusiast I have caught myself occassionally thinking poorly of a colleague who doesn't use technology in their classrooms. There's a lot of misunderstanding between those of us converted to technology and those teachers who as of yet haven't jumped on the bandwagon - and we really need to make sure that that misunderstanding doesn't evolve into an us and them attitude.
Those of us who are already converts need to understand that everyone's experience and engagement with technology is different and we can't expect those people with fear/confusion/hesitation to take a giant leap forward and jump up next to us. Some people will take YEARS to see that what we're achieving is valid, while others need to be shown once and then the next time we look around they're way out in front of us.
For me, from now on, I'm going to stay very aware that it's not about the technology, it's about the pedagogy and instead of judging those not yet on the technology wagon I'm going to try understanding where they're at in their journey.
I've got a feeling it's likely to get more of a response than "You must integrate technology to be a 21st Century teacher."