Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Worst Nightmare

Late last week the depth of my pedagogy was probed - the intent purely to discover if I really am just about the technology. I wasn't offended by the question, it's something I've asked myself a fair bit over the last couple of years. In answering the question though I (in typical Mobbsey fashion) made a joke that a classroom without any technology would be my worst nightmare.

Stupid joke :/ Particularly because it's not true.

I love teaching, regardless of the environment. Whether that space has laptops, data projectors, ipods, cameras, headsets - that's all just trimmings, they're the bonuses. Give me a space, a group of students ready and willing to learn and freedom to help these students get to the necessary end point - that's all I need to be happy as a teacher.

The conflict between my love for technology and my love for teaching is something I've had to come to terms with over the last twelve months. When I first started participating in the DPLA community this year I was faced with a situation which had me seriously questioning my involvement. I wasn't convinced DPLA was for me or that my pedagogy was up to the scrutiny. My doubt stemmed from a conversation about digital portfolios and students using digital tools to develop and track progress - I was frustrated because it felt as though we were being asked to do things digitally for the sake of doing them digitally.

The reality is that technology is not ALWAYS the best option in the classroom and it's fairly clear that I am percieved as being about the technology.

Honestly, that concerns me - maybe I've been talking techology too much and not enough pedagogy. It's certainly given me food for thought and inspiration for self-reflection - How do I avoid being "the technology" English teacher?


katymacc said...

What a fabulously honest blog. I know the feelings and questions you are describing.

I often get people apologizing to me for good teaching without technology which is one of my messages that they see me as only being about technology. Like you I am interested in great learning. My "quest" is to help people (students and adults) achieve great personal learning and often that can be enhanced with technology but there are definitely times when it can be done as well or better without it.

Congratulations for tackling the hard personal questions. : )

Linda Pilkington said...

I agree wholeheartedly with katymacc and particularly in relation to your honesty about two topics so close to your heart, teaching and technology!

Something I feel shining through your post is the fact that you have done some deep soul searching. Interesting that even though you weren't offended by the question, you stopped long enough to think about it and justify your position.

Great businesses have a 'point of difference' which sets them apart from the ordinary. Maybe that's how you could think about your being perceived as being 'about the technology'. Student success, engagement and satisfaction should be what continues to drive the choices you make about delivery of lessons and assessment task.

A great post. Really got me thinking about a few things too:)