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Why Educational Technology

“Why in the world are you taking a class in Educational Technology?! What’s that field all about anyway?”

I had the opportunity to see Jane McGonigal speak at ISTE a few years ago.  Her keynote and that conference changed the direction of my career.  Jane is a wizard when it comes to creating and using games for learning and changing the world. The ISTE conference is a yearly educational technology conference and one of its main focal points is the use of technology in education.

After this four day geekfest – I was all in.  When my friend and I got back to our school in Oklahoma, the ideas were free flowing.  How could we use educational technology in our classrooms?  What could we do to help students see technology as a platform for learning?  How can I spread ideas to fellow teachers through social media?  What could I learn from people all over the world?  That first ISTE conference changed the course of my career.

In my mind’s eye, educational technology are the tools that we infuse into classrooms as part of the learning process.  Using websites like Kahoot and Socrative to get and give instant feedback to students helps me be a better teacher.  Prezi and Google Apps For Education allow students to collaborate in real time and gives students the opportunity to show what they know.

These websites, and others like them require the use of technology.  They also should be used in a way that helps students learn, they must be educational.  It is here that we see the marriage between these two different, but important pieces.  I can use Twitter to find out the latest gossip on the Kardashians.  Or I could use Twitter to have a conversation with a master teacher in another state or country.  Which one uses Twitter as EdTech?

My passion for educational technology and the many things it can do for education is apparent in other places on my blog.  It can truly make a huge difference in our classrooms, but must not be another version of a xeroxed worksheet.  If that is the case, what a waste of time and money for everyone.

There are excellent teachers who do not use any EdTech, that is great – but – could they be even more amazing?  I taught in a high school classroom for 18 years, I was jaded about things that would come and go.  The next silver bullet that we would have day long professional development over, only to see that tool/item gone by Thanksgiving.  I understand teachers arching the eyebrow about edtech.  It’s not going anywhere.  It is getting better and better with every passing day.

As teachers, we must harness this powerful tool for our classroom.  Some edtech is horrible.  Some is great.  We have to take just a little bit of time to explore and dig around.  We have to find a better way.  Teaching is not like it was in the 1890’s – that single teacher classroom, full of chalkboards is past.  We have the world in our pockets.  We need to knock down the four walls of our classroom and expand our influence.  We need to model how social media can be used to learn and grow and make amazing connections.

I am taking this class to better understand.  I am taking the class to make a positive difference for teachers.  I am taking this class to grow as a teacher myself.  I am also taking this class because me advisor strongly suggested it….

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