My biggest question coming into this course is this: how much use of technology is necessary in a 21st century classroom? Over these past two weeks, we have begun to explore how greatly technology permeates our lives today. Exposure is inevitable. Reflecting on myself as a student, I have begun to realize how much I use technology on a daily basis and the vast amount of media I consume.The video below, which we viewed during the first day of class, truly shows how much technology and media affect us every day, and how important it is becoming.
As someone who has a more “traditionalist” approach to education, this video really impacted me. As stated before, technology use is inevitable, and I need to be open to integrating it within my classroom. Not only will it be important for me to allow students to use the technology around them for assignments, projects, and lessons, but it is becoming apparent that educating them on safe use of technology is a must.
As a result of our discussion today, I have realized the importance of educating kids on “digital citizenship.” There are so many shows on today (i.e. Catfish) that are revealing the grim reality behind social media: not everyone is who they claim to be. In a world where social media is a staple in the lives of people, even as young as Elementary school, it will be a necessary life skill to help them learn to navigate the internet safely and efficiently.
The actual integration of technology (that goes deeper than simply researching on google) will be necessary to help keep learning relevant to today’s students. For example, creating word clouds (like we did for class this week) can be a very easy way to test for comprehension, and as a creative outlet. One way I would use this technique in my classroom someday would be to encourage students to make predictions about a book or article they are about to read. By asking them to write down one word that would describe what they predict the book will be about (ex. love, adventure, friendship etc.), I could then compile them into a word cloud to show to the class. At the end of the book, we could do the same activity to show how those predictions were or weren’t verified.
Along with that, I think that classroom blogs are a great way to build a comfortable sharing community, and help foster writing and blogging as an outlet in the future. This would be a simple way to have kids respond to discussion questions on their own time, and in class. It would also be a great method for them to look at the writing of their classmates and comment on it. In an English classroom, I see this as a way to engage my students in deeper reflection about books we are reading in class. I envision using it on a weekly basis, where students are required to respond to a prompt by a certain day of the week. Then, I would have them respond to a few of their classmate’s posts in order to see their perspective. Not only would this be a great way to foster critical thinking and gauge comprehension, but it would also allow me to plant the seeds
of good “digital citizenship” in a controlled environment.
While I think technology and social media can be wonderful things, I also think they can be very dangerous. I think they make school easier for kids, and don’t require them to use deep thinking of their own, rather than just “googling” the answer. How much do I encourage students to use the internet to answer their inquiries? Am I to direct them to books for research, or simply require it? Yes, I believe that so many projects and activities can be enhanced with technology. Yet, I continue to wonder what the intrinsic value of traditional, “hands on”, work is today?