Friday, February 3, 2012

21st Century Technology

The evolution of technology over the past decade has been staggering. Not only has it become much more cost effective, it has become an essential part of the classroom. To teach without technology these days is to do an incredible disservice to our students.

For me, living and teaching in a rural area has had its trials and triumphs in the area of technology. Trying to teach for years in a school with only one computer lab, shared between all grades as well as serving as the IT and business classroom, has been a struggle. It is only within the past few years technology updates to the classrooms have been taking place. Classrooms were receiving Smart-boards before they had access to computers for individual student use. Nice, but a little backwards.

Recently acquired net books have started to give classrooms the opportunity to really begin utilizing current technologies in the classroom. For example, we are experiencing, for the first time, the power of Google Docs to revolutionize how an English teacher and her students work. Today, my students and I worked on a document together. We were able to all work on the same document watching each other type and add comments and ideas. Students were oohing and ahhing over the technology that I'm sure other schools have had for years.

This not-so-new-but-new-for-us technology will cut down on paper use- no more papers to physically turn in. Writing to this point had been mostly old school pen and pencil work. It was hard to lay down any expectations for more when often students did not have access to computers at school or home. This year for the first time, we will share our documents and give each other feedback over the Internet. Not a new invention certainly, but a huge technological step for us here in rural USA.

I am hoping fervently that this trend will continue. Over the next couple of years, I hope that my students will be able to get more and more access to relevant technologies. I truly believe that these opportunities will provide an opening to a world of wonder and enjoyment of learning that some of these students haven't experienced since elementary days.

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