Picture this. Its 2004. I’m a very curious six-year-old who has just laid eyes on their first iMac computer. I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is futuristic, its cool, it has a ton of buttons I’d love to push. I nervously glance over my shoulder at my mom, who has instructed me that this is her special work computer, not a toy. I can’t resist though. I go for the first button I see. The power button it turns out. The mac’s startup chime echoes throughout the office…busted.
This story is really my first experience with technology. Now days, by the age of six most children have mastered the ins and outs of surfing the internet, communicating via texting or Snapchat, and have developed a social media presence. This is a far cry from my experience with technology at six, but nothing compared to what my parents experienced or even children growing up in the early 90’s.
Technology has taken over our worlds. It changed everything from the way we communicate to the way we carry out our daily tasks. Most millennials wouldn’t even know how to function without high speed internet, let alone without the latest and greatest smart phone. The thought of millennials with the first mobile phones (or bricks) slung over their shoulder desperately trying to reach out to friends to get the most up to date information is comical to say the least.
Technology has changed the culture of our lives. Its empowered so many people who have created jobs as bloggers, online influencers and IT personnel among thousands of others. It’s created a platform for people to better project their voice into the world. One of the main platforms in use online today is YouTube. In watching An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube by Michael Wesch, I learned just how YouTube has come to change so many aspects in our world.
From Michael’s video I learned that YouTube was really the first place that made uploading and viewing video content online accessible. YouTube changed how we view content and participate in an online world. Videos of anything, from anybody could be posted, opening the world to a ton of new content. This meant anyone could find themselves the latest star of the internet with even the simplest videos. Michael deemed YouTube “A celebration of a new form of empowerment” and that’s exactly what YouTube has increasingly become.
Technology has also changed the way we educate our children. Educational technology really has opened up a new world for teachers and students alike. From the time children are in their early years of elementary school their using the latest technology to connect them to their learning material. It acts as a limitless resource. All the information in the world is available at the click of a button. This means students can use sources such as YouTube and Google to help with a tough math problem or chemistry concept. Thus, students can be more independent learners. The use of technology in the classroom can make learning more exciting for students. The interactive and visual proponents used in academic learning are undoubtedly more fun for students than looking at a piece of paper.
Teachers have also put technology to use in almost all of their daily classroom tasks. They use it for attendance, to communicate with staff and parents, for lesson planning, and a teaching tool, it’s even replaced the whiteboard. Computers are also the most optimal way to store information. Teachers can now save all their work on one device, cutting down the amount of important information they have to lug around from class to class. It can all be stored on one device.
Though technology has benefited schools greatly there are also some disadvantages. Obviously with all that information at the tips of your fingers some inappropriate material might be found too. The viewing of violent or even pornographic material is of serious concern for educators, and you never know just what’s going to pop up on the internet. The recent epidemic of “fake news” is also of growing concern. Often everything children, or even adults read on the internet they take to be true. This is no the case however and we need to ensure we teach children this. The act of cheating has also become easier than ever with the use of smart phones. A smart phone can be a tempting tool to use during a test or homework assignment. There also a relatively easy tool to conceal and with all that information at the touch of a button it can be hard to resist.
With all the young people using social media apps and websites to connect the problem of cyber bullying is a growing problem among school aged children. Kids often use devices as a façade to hide behind when using technology for this tragic purpose. The lack of face to face connection makes cruel remarks easier to send. It’s also hard to find an escape from this type of bullying, as everyone seems to be connected to a smart device at all times. Just like regular bullying, cyber bullying has a great effect on children personally as well academically. Teachers constantly need to be on the lookout for cyber bullying, even though it can be hard to see the signs.
Despite some of the more prominent disadvantages in educational technology, it will definitely still be an important part of my future classroom. With technology still increasingly on the rise I think its important to prepare students for this. I do believe it’s important to educate students on being safe digital citizens however to avoid the dangers of living in a digital society. As a secondary teacher I will also be teaching some difficult content matter I believe, from personal experience that students can benefit from learning from multiple resources. For example, Sources like YouTube have awesome subject based content that can be very helpful for students. I feel it would be detrimental to students learning in this day and age not to supply them with helpful technology sources.
My Main Points for Using Ed Tech in The Classroom:
1. Students need to learn how to use technology in the classroom so they can continue to thrive with it out of the classroom in a digital based world.
2. It’s a limitless resource. Having another platform to learn from is a huge advantage, especially one that’s available 24/7.
3. Educational technology can make lesson more exciting via the fun visuals and ability to be more interactive with apps like Kahoot.
4. Helps classroom organization. Teachers can save documents and information on students on one device.
5. Communication. Teachers can easily and safely communicate with students, and parent via apps like Remind, that allow for messages to be sent without sharing personal phone numbers.