Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Frustrations With Technology? Let's limit those in the classroom


This is a phrase often repeated (in my head or even out loud) when I’m working with technology. Whether I’m using my laptop, email, smartphone, iPad, etc., I frequently find myself sitting in a state of frustration. My computer freezes, emails get “lost,” text messages get delayed, apps don’t download or function properly, and those are just to name a few. I grew up exposed to an exponentially greater amount of technology than my teachers, though I’m afraid I’m already falling behind my future students and the amount of technologies to which they are/will be exposed.

It is obvious that to be a developmentally responsive teacher, integrating technology into the classroom is a must. When I chose to become a teacher, I chose to be a lifelong learner. I am fully aware that tons of information I have yet to learn will come from my students, especially regarding technology. Even if I have my class explore a technology, such as a math game app, that I am already familiar with, chances are that at least one of my students will discover something new to teach me. More than likely, they will make a connection between the technology in the classroom and one that they have used elsewhere in their lives. To me, this is exciting because it encourages students to discover things on their own and not simply rely on or be satisfied with the information I give them.  

Yes, frustrations will come with nearly all things in life, and many aspects of teaching, but if I can limit these frustrations…why wouldn’t I? A way to do this is to choose technologies and apps that I am extremely familiar with and already know the ins and outs. I especially want to be mindful of this in my first few years of teaching. That way, I can anticipate questions and problems beforehand and be prepared to solve them. This will help the lesson run more smoothly and will help with classroom management. No teacher wants to have a classroom of students groaning and getting fussy because they’re behind as a result of a technological malfunction, especially one that their teacher can’t fix.

In other words, I need to set myself up for success. As I gain more experience and become more confident with managing a classroom, I could challenge my students to investigate technologies I am not as familiar with. This would be a great way to spice up the routine and give them more control over what they get out of the technology. Technology, while exciting and fairly new, does have its drawbacks. But, if we plan ahead and prepare ourselves, we, as educators, can make a great impact on our students’ academics and the future of education.