Swarming Thoughts

Since I returned from San Antonio late Monday night, I’ve had two days with my students as I embrace my shifted paradigm of using technology.  I really didn’t realize that I needed to shift my thinking in regards to using technology in the classroom, but I did.  And I wish I could pinpoint the one session or the one speaker or the one quote which led to this shift.  But I can’t.  It is simply a culmination of the entire experience and then stepping back into my classroom with a few ideas to try.  So instead, I’ll attempt to share my new paradigm.  Thank you for allowing me to sort out some of the thoughts swarming in my mind.

I’m comfortable with technology and I believe it is important to be used in schools; however, I never had taken the last step.  That step is using technology to encourage stronger thinking.  When we use technology to do the same ol’ thing, we’re not doing it justice.  I’m trying to use technology to take the learning in my classroom to a new level.

It’s a shift from being an information-provider to being a person who helps students create their own learning.  It’s a shift which puts even more responsibility on the learner for making his/her own meaning.  It’s a shift that scares me a bit.

I want to tell them each and every step.  I want to make sure they’re getting the information they need.  I want to be in control.  However, that’s simply not realistic. 

The generation of learners we have in our classrooms are ones who should be responsible for making meaning and finding the answers and rising to challenges.  Too often, kids are bored and checked out.  Did you know 1 student drops out of high school every 9 seconds?   This is a serious problem and I believe technology is one defense against the dropout rate.

Yet it’s technology coupled with caring.  This essential ingredient of creating a community cannot be ditched in the name of being tech-savvy.  The inviting classroom and compassionate teacher must remain.  Yet, I’m beginning to see how this kind of environment can be built on-line.

It was sealed when I experienced the energy and excitement radiated by my students.