Saturday, 6 July 2013

How we work...how is technology changing my practice...

Have you noticed a different way you operate as a teacher?


Things have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, since I first sat around school meetings with staff with a pen and paper.

I have a MacBook Pro, iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPhone...yes it took me until last year...but I'm now Applefied.

My To Do List is electronic. It is based on the app Todist which syncs across all of my devices. I can pick up any device I'm using and add to the list, (which keeps growing and growing).

All my files are in Dropbox. Again, I can access them anywhere at anytime, even when it's not on my own device. I have had a couple of occasions in my career where my computer or hard drive has crashed, and I've lost all my files that weren't backed up. Dropbox has helped me to alleviate this - as long as they don't crash...

Recently I transformed all my unit folders into computer folders. Everything was scanned and filed under headings on my computer. It was quite distressing actually to see 10 years of teaching become a folder on the computer - 16 packing boxes turned into 1 packing box of things I just couldn't let go. Now if I need something I can look it up and print it only if it's needed. I can provide it to students electronically if required. I have got more space in my office, and not as many boxes in the garage.

My professional development record is now a blog. I can take photos, type notes, and always be able to access the information anywhere at anytime. It's made things so much easier as I can always have notes, and not be looking for them in last year's diary. When asked what I've done...I can easily track it. I keep my blog private...no one needs to know but me. They're my thoughts and inspiration from what I've done.

And at conferences we're faced with hashtags and Twitter feeds to interact with and share our thoughts in real time. To comment on what's happening.

I attend a conference or  meeting with at least one device (usually two). Lots of power cords. Lots of backup hard drives.

It's a new way of operating. It's a new way of thinking. It's a change.

So how does this impact on what I'm doing with my students? Does this way of working mean more to them? Can I engage with them more effectively? What happens when there is something new on the horizon?

I'm a different person now than when I started. I don't work with students in the same way.

What I do need to do though is set up boundaries in my classroom. Guides about how technology is used. I was always adamant that I would never let students have mobile phones in the classroom. I don't  know who is sending them a message; I don't want them checking their messages...I want them engaged in my learning. That means it's up to me to keep them engaged. It's up to me to make sure they use the technology appropriately. It's about having opportunities for all students to engage with technology in my class with the resources that exist.

It's food for thought...I want to learn more about how to do this. I need to spend time on it. I need to ask my students what they want to do.

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