This week, one of the assignments in my EdTech 501 class was to think about some of my first experiences with technology in the classroom. When I started thinking about my first experiences with technology in the classroom, I realized that I didn’t really have any experiences with it until I was in high school. When I was in middle school, the school district had some serious over-crowding issues and because of this, we went to school in shifts and had limited access to computers or technology of any sort. I remember overhead projectors, so I suppose that counts as technology; however, it wasn’t hands-on in any way, and I don’t think that it did much to contribute to my learning.When I was a freshman, the new high school building was completed. From that point on, my experiences with technology were frustrating. We had a limited number of computers in our classroom, and a “state of the art” library filled with computers, but nothing ever worked and in most classrooms, the computers were not even hooked up. Some classrooms had SmartBoards, but the teachers never used them, because they never worked. It seemed that the “gift” of technology was really a burden. Even in the computer lab, there were always problems, whether students forgetting their login id’s, the id’s just simply not working, or the entire network going down. As a student, it made me not want to use the computers at school. Fortunately, my parents owned a business and therefore, we always had multiple computers in our home that I could use to complete assignments and do research. I utilized these computers frequently.
I also remember the computer assignments at school being tedious and boring. There was no freedom for creativity. Everything was point-by-point directions: point and click here, copy and past that, type this. It didn’t do anything to make me want to use computers or explore the vast amount of information available on the world wide web. Looking back, I believe that the main reason for this rather bland introduction into computers and technology was due to the lack of understanding from the teacher’s side. I don’t think that they were comfortable with technology, for the most part, and that in turn affected their student’s experiences with it.As a teacher, I believe that it is in my power to “stay ahead of the curve” and be continuously thinking of new and creative ideas to help my students not only use technology, but also learn from it. Websites like Wordle, Animoto, Glogster, and even Facebook and Twitter can contribute to students’ experiences with education and technology, making both richer and more interesting. I recently read this article from Time Magazine that explores how teachers use Twitter to help their students learn grammar and punctuation. Brilliant if you ask me! In addition to this short list of educational technology tools, I found this blog that has a list of 30 different educational technology tools and resources. Enjoy!