Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Technological Realities in School

via Wikimedia Commons
I saw this lexicon of Educational Technology terminology online last week--it's a really good summary of 20 key terms that educators should know related to the EdTech realm.

It got me thinking (again) about the technological realities currently present in schools.

I'm busy supervising many student teachers this semester, which I love. It's great to observe their growth and development as faithful, dedicated professionals. For the most part they are doing really, really good work.

What I find interesting is that several of them are teaching in 1:1 schools. (Check the lexicon above...) This has some pretty profound influence on the way they are teaching--and none of them are graduates of 1:1 programs themselves, which makes it all the more interesting for me to observe how the available technology affect their teaching. They are struggling with managing the realities of how all that technology in the classroom really does impact what is learned, and also how it is learned.

It makes me wonder again about "digital natives." These student teachers are clearly of the age that we expect them to be "native" users of technology--they can scarcely conceive of a world without cell phones in hand and ready access to broadband internet. Facebook has given way to Twitter, which is in turn giving way to Snapchat. It's a wired world, right? (And wireless at the same time...)

But as I reflect on how my student teachers are dealing with the technological realities in school, it seems like their struggles and successes regarding teaching with technology pretty nearly mirror my own. And as a 30-something, I'm definitely not a digital native. (Though I like to think of myself as a fluent immigrant.) My student teachers in 1:1 settings are feeling their way, just like I am. Just because my students are of the age supposed to be incredibly tech-savvy, they don't seem to be much more likely than I am to dive in head-first. And they don't seem to have some exceptional technological abilities because they are somehow "native." We're all digital citizens, and we're all trying to find the best way of using technology to enhance teaching and learning.

I'd love to hear from the under-30 crowd on this one...what do you think of this? Are we overselling the idea of "digital natives" being super-comfortable with teaching through technology? Or am I just missing it--maybe because I'm too much the immigrant?


  1. I agree with you. I am a 1st grade teacher & technology specialist at my school. We are not 1:1, but have iPads in every classroom. I am under 30 (barely) and very comfortable with technology. It is hard work integrating technology into my lessons, but well with it for the payoff, in my opinion. My student teacher this year seems to be much less comfortable with all things ipad / technology. I think it's hard because they have not ever seen what we are doing. They have not been taught like we are trying to teach & they are trying to learn how to teach & find themselves as young teachers too.
    I really enjoy reading your blog & appreciate your thought provoking posts!

  2. Hi Meghan,
    Thanks so much for your feedback! It's always good to know that I'm not the only one seeing things this way. I think this is a real issue and I worry that schools are pretty quick to throw technology at perceived problems without enough support and training for the teachers to ensure that their students will actually benefit. Sorry if that sounds cynical. Technology can be both a blessing and a curse.

    Thanks for reading! And keep the feedback coming--I hope these posts will become a conversation.