Friday, September 12, 2014

Reflective Teaching: Day 12, Changes in Education

Day 12--How do you envision your teaching changing over the next five years?

I dislike change.  I imagine most of us do.  We like our traditions and our comfort zones and our sacred cows.  We don't want to have to give them up and try new things when the old way has worked just fine.  But time doesn't stand still.  We must move with it or be left behind.   

Sure, we add computers and gadgets to our classrooms, but we keep our chalk, just in case the new smart board doesn't work.  We hold onto the ancient overhead projector for those days when technology outpaces the capabilities or the ceiling-mounted projector's bulb goes out.  We keep a file cabinet filled with worksheets for the days when the internet is down or a squirrel fries itself in a transformer and knocks out power for half the day.

We teach in schools that have to be retrofit to accommodate the 1:1 classroom.  Teachers who learned to type on type writers, word processors, or Apple IIe computers are now having to figure out the ever-changing digital world.  Our students are digital natives who, while they can figure out proxy servers and back-doors to Facebook through the school firewalls, have trouble with basic keyboarding skills like typing at any speed or maneuvering past Wikipedia during a research project.

So, I predict that in the next five years my teaching will continue to grow more and more "online" as we continue to move into the digital world.  I already have Chromebooks that I use almost daily in my classes, and I see myself using more edtech in order to help the students master my content.  I will have to become more and more tech savvy.  
Already there are so many online tools and programs and curricula; while we teachers hold on to our chalk and projectors, we also are innovators and product testers.  Tech trainings encourage us teachers to advance our skills and knowledge.

We hold on to the past so that we can grow into the future.  I think I will hold on to my traditions as well as embrace the changes that are upon us.  Without roots, the tree will die.  Our chalk and No. 2 pencils are our roots that will keep us steady even as our branches reach for the digital world that is our stars.  In five years I will have taught for over 20 years, and, while I couldn't have imagined the changes that have occurred since I first stepped into a classroom, I know I have yet to see wonders.

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