Yesterday, I looked back at the first essay I wrote for my educational technology course, entitled My Educational Technology Mission Statement. I wanted to see if anything changed over the past nine months since I started the course. Perhaps I came to some new understanding about myself or technology that I had been unaware of. And I wondered what the repercussions might be if it changed… or perhaps even more frightening, if it didn’t change after nine months of being immersed in educational technology.
I originally wrote that Judaic Studies teachers and General Studies teachers have different goals regarding the use of technology. I explained Judaic Studies teachers are preparing the students for a Torah life. Their goal is that the student should be familiar and comfortable in all aspects of Jewish life. Technology is only there to help with the task, but not an end in itself. A General Studies teacher is given the task of preparing the student for a successful career. They need to guide the students in general knowledge as well as keep them up to date in the latest technological innovations to ensure they are competitive in the workplace.
Over the course I have interacted with many dedicated Secular teachers. I must backtrack and say that overwhelmingly they see technology as a tool to help teach the knowledge to the children. Their goal is not technology for technology itself, but rather to train the children to think and to apply what they know. Of course, Judaic and General teachers have different objectives because they both serve a different purpose in a child’s life. That is why our children need both of them. The General studies teacher is teaching for general knowledge that a child needs for life and the Judaic studies teacher is teaching toward what the child needs to live a Jewish life. Both are important and necessary. In regards to technology, all teachers use them in the same way. To enhance the student’s knowledge.
That was where I backtracked from my original thoughts. I joined the course originally because I was looking to find a better way to integrate technology in a purposeful way into my classroom. I still firmly believe that we all must evaluate each technological tool before we use it and ask ourselves if this adds to the lesson I want the students to learn.
I enjoyed learning about the ISTE standards that give expectations for what a student is expected to know in each grade. I appreciated the opportunity to work on each web 2.0 tool to figure out ways it could be used to enhance the teaching that is happening in my classroom. I would have liked to work on more collaborative projects because I feel that this is an area where technology has a huge advantage over the established way. I feel that students can accomplish so much more when they collaborate together. I would have enjoyed seeing that in action a little bit more.
It was also amazing to see how quickly technology is changing. In the textbooks that were written only a couple of years ago, there was nary a mention of mobile technology. Nowadays many people are only using iPads. Computer sales are down and people need to use them less and less. Some of the tools we learned about might not be around in the next year or two. Something bigger, better or more effective is already out there. However, I have the tools to keep myself up to date on the latest trends in educational technology. I learned about those too. And I will keep up with what is going on and keep connected to people in my PLN to make sure that I can give my students the knowledge that they need and deserve.