Last week I started posting a five-part blog series about why I teach. Here is the fourth part, and for those that have not read part 1 yet, I will begin again with what inspired this series.
Earlier this semester my district had a random Monday in September for a Professional Development day. A Google Innovator was brought in from out of state to talk about ways to make more effective use of Google Classroom. That part of her presentation was great and since that day I have made much use of what she presented, however, it was a completely different part of her presentation that has stuck with me the most. At the beginning of the day she had us write down 5 things we love about our job on 5 different note cards. I have carried those note cards with me daily ever since. As I have continually reflected on what I wrote that morning I have come to a much deeper realization of why I love my career. To further reflect upon this I want to talk about what I wrote on each of these cards in a separate blog post.
Upon the fifth and final notecard I wrote:
I love exploring the application of technology in the classroom.
I have written about what makes my job, rewarding, fun, essential, and stimulating. Today I am going to write about why it is a never ending cycle of innovation.
My story with technology started early and has lasted my entire lifetime. When I was in Kindergarten and 1st Grade my dad was my elementary principal and he had written a grant for a learning to read program from IBM; the school was awarded the grant and software. I learned to read on a computer. I had workbooks to work through and a series of on screen prompts to follow. I am sure this is fairly standard today but in the mid 80’s this was groundbreaking stuff. 12 some years later as I was graduating high school and entering college the internet and email was booming across the country. My freshman year in college I had AOL dial up service in my dorm room and would talk to friends via AIM and other chat services. Then another 10 years later I was in the midst of establishing myself in my first career field when the social media and smart phone crazes both started. I have long been an early adopter of technology and have grown up with a constantly changing tech landscape. I can easily navigate my way through the newest gadgets and software. In essence, the growth and maturity of popular consumer technology has followed the same trajectory of growth in my own life.
I love bringing this to life in my classroom. I will admit it can be easy to sometimes want to explore new classroom technology just to do so. There is a reason this post comes after the ones about my students, my vision, and my love for pedagogy. I strive to use technology as a way to enhance the other parts of my purpose in education. I seek intentionality with my innovation.
In seeking to further my commitment to this intentional, technological innovation I push myself to constantly be learning. I have learned to use a Windows based PC as efficiently and expertly as my MacBook. I have learned the basics of the Android OS. I have obtained my Apple Educator certification and am in the process of going even further by learning to code via Apple’s platform. I am working towards the various levels of Google Educator certifications and want to eventually to be a trainer and an innovator. I am exploring ways to use VR technology to create virtual field trips and other learning experiences for students. I also continue to seek to master the various new social media platforms to ascertain what benefit there may be in them when it comes to student engagement and connectivity.
I do all of this because of my love for my students. I do it because I want to continue to take risks pedagogically. Also, I do this because I am seeking to create lifelong learning, engaged citizens. It will be ever increasingly harder to be those engaged citizens without knowing how to use technology well and I want to prepare my students the best I can.