Technology and the Classroom

I have recently read a blog by Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D. that particularly sparked my interest. Dr. McLeod spent 14 years as an Educational Leadership professor and is now a Director of learning, teaching, and innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. Dr. McLeod has won many national awards for his technology leadership work from the Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association and more. He has also created the country’s first graduate program designed to prepare tech-savvy school leaders. The program is named CASTLE which stands for Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education.

Dr. McLeod wrote a blog titled Schools Aren’t Preparing Freelancers and Entrepreneurs. From this blog I learned that freelancers and entrepreneurs are not only independent but they don’t have corporate support within their businesses. This results in increased competition between these independent businesses and the mainstream businesses that have contract workers. I learned that the more the mainstream businesses depend on contract workers and obtain corporate support, the entrepreneurs and freelancers have to keep hustling to stay ahead and prove they can out-innovate their peers. The hustle of the freelancers and entrepreneurs is considered self-sufficiency within the business. I also learned that schools are not helping students out-innovate their peers, or helping them use their interests and skills. Schools are not helping students become self-sufficient in a highly-complex, rapidly-shifting work landscape. Schools are standardized and discount the different strengths and talents students have.

McLeod, Scott, Ph.D. “Schools Aren’t Preparing Freelancers and Entrpunuers.” Web log post. Dangerously Irrelevant Technology, Leadership, and Future of Schools. 05 Jan. 2016. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.

After viewing the videos A Vision of K-12 Students Today and Rethinking Learning: The 21st century learner, one idea from the videos that concerned me was that only 14% of teachers allow students to create using technology. A second idea that concerned me was that 63% of teaches never allow students to use technology in their classrooms or lessons. The third idea that did not concern me but more so surprised me was that any kid who is a great user of digital media can be traced back to a parent, program etc. that inspired them to use digital media.

Although those ideas concerned or surprised me the main idea in the videos that mean the most for me as a prospective educator is the integration of technology as a whole. I agree with the idea of linking formal learning and digital learning together instead of abandoning formal learning. I think it is important to use technology in lessons as much as possible. Students use technology every day and many students haven’t experienced what life is like without technology. Incorporating technology allows students to be creative and become the creator of content. For example, creating digital stories based on what is learned in class gives students the opportunity to create their own view of that content area. Students are very familiar with technology which can make learning more relatable or fun when they are able to use it to learn. As an educator I think the home, peer, and community environments are important when it comes to learning. I also think using technology to link them together within the classroom is very beneficial to the students.

I would use Tagexdo in my classroom to communicate information about Family and Consumer Sciences which is the content area I would be teaching. I would use Tagexdo as a way for my students to create their own shape of words and include what they have learned within the lesson. I would ask my students to create a Tagexdo as a group or individually throughout the curriculum. After students have created their Tagexdo I would ask them to present it to the class and explain why they chose the words they included, how those words relate to the lesson or content area, and which word(s) are the most important to them and why. I would use Tagexdo in content areas that covered family, nutrition, child development, and personal finance mainly because these content areas closely relate to things students encounter or have encountered in their lives. Most of these content areas are relative and the knowledge the students gain in these areas can be very beneficial to them.

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New information that I have learned is that there is an increasingly high percentage of teachers that do not integrate technology into their content. I learned that over 50% of educators never allow students to use technology in their classroom or lessons. I also learned that one of the main goals of using digital learning is not to absolutely abandon formal learning, but to link the two together.

I must say I am all too familiar with the different ways young people use technology on a daily basis. I am also a 21st century learner and I am also becoming educated on how to use technology in lessons when I am an educator. There is not anything within this assignment that I already knew. Although the concept of integrating technology into a classroom or content area is very familiar to me, I learned about different programs such as Storybird and Tagexdo that I can use as an educator that will allow my students to be creative. I would use that program to have my students create their own online stories and Tagexdos based on what they have learned form a lesson. This is a great program for stand and share exercises, as well as group work. It can be used to promote social interaction and allow the students to display their creative sides.

Click her to view “Kitchen Safety” an online story I created using Storybird for Family and Consumer Sciences Grades 7-12.

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