Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Love-Hate Relationship with Technology: My Top 5's on Both Sides

True confessions from an elementary school Technology Specialist:

I have a love-hate relationship with the technology of today.

My Top 5 Loves:
  • In the classroom, technology opens up doors for student engagement. My favorite folder on our student iPads is the "Create & Write" Folder--filled with apps designed exactly for just that! (That being said, technology is one tool, not the holy grail. There are times when low-tech and no-tech options like games, thinking skills, cooperative learning, outdoor experiences are better suited for the task at hand.)
  • For people who love to learn, computers and mobile devices hold so many opportunities to keep your knowledge base going and growing--from software, to apps, to coding opportunities, to the wealth of information called the Internet. This holds true for students & adults alike.
  • iPads, smartphones, & laptops are all ripe with their ability to hold everything in one place.  I remember days-gone-by, packing for a trip: the handful of books I was currently reading in one bag, another one filled with a magazine or two, a music player, maybe a movie, my camera, my calendar, my notebook/journal, any maps, my cell phone, my address book... Now, you've got it packaged all neatly in one place for one-stop-shopping, especially once you connect to wifi.
  • Given the 1-device-ness mentioned above, not only are you packing lighter, but you are packing in a much more eco-friendly way.  My daughter's middle school is almost completely a paper-free environment thanks to their 1:1 iPad program.  That is saving a lot of trees!
  • Technology tools can be used for such a force of good when it comes to 21st century skills:  creativity, connection, collaboration, critical thinking, and more. 

My Top 5 Hates:
  • I am a tech teacher, and I am a mom of tech-loving children.  Given that, I have to be the "Tech Czar" to my own kids--telling them when to turn it off, take a break, and unplug.   (Nobody likes that job!)  I'm still working on ways to have them self-monitor that more, but I haven't found the magic in that one.  (See below.)
  • The seduction & addiction is hard enough for us adults to know when it's time to step away from our devices.  How can we truly expect children to self-monitor this?  (See above.)
  • Given my job, I use my devices for research, for work, for creating lesson plans, and following trends.  I am on tech a lot...which means this is the example I set for my kids.  I try to explain to them how my curation & creation is different than their frequent consumption.  (I mean, how many Minecraft Youtube videos can they really watch?!)  Sometimes this falls on headphoned-ears.
  • To cultivate creativity, studies have shown us that you need to get bored. Steve Jobs knew that and limited his own kids and their computer time.  Can you get bored with your device? In this age of multi-tasking (which never really goes well), we don't ever really get there.  Once you start getting bored, you switch apps, and move on, being driven by instant gratification. Innovation & invention won't really enter the picture if you are time-slicing (or bouncing from one thing to another) at a speed-racer-pace.
  • I've found myself doing everything I made fun of when the first "Blackberry" (aka "Crackberry") came out.  How many times do we check our devices?  (Apparently there's an app to answer that!) How near is it in any given situation?  I have found myself become more Adult-Onset-ADHD. Check email. Text a couple people simultaneously. Play Words With Friends. Scan Pinterest. Check Facebook. Play another Word....Not to mention Twitter, Instagram, the weather, and anything else we can't live without--or so we've told ourselves. We've all seen the family of 4-5 who are all laser-locked at a restaurant table, each on their own device, silent as mice.
So....what's a techie teacher to do in this double-edged sword world in which we live?

As with anything, I know it all comes down to balance & moderation.

No comments :

Post a Comment