I BLOG ABOUT…
Hi. My name is Kaye, and I am an “Early Adopter.”
As much as I’d hate to admit it, I have a problem. Whenever a new technology tool, website, gizmo, gadget, widget, whatchamacallit that comes along, I have to try it out.
Sometimes, this leads to quiet evenings spent alone when I could be out socializing with my friends. Sometimes it means burnt pizza in the oven. Sometimes it means the undeniable, “here we go again” eye rolls I get from my 8th graders.
Technology integration, for me, has become a necessary step along my professional development journey as an educator. It has taken me some time to get over all the fears that accompanied exploring new territories. Will it be blocked? Is it developmentally appropriate? Is it better than what I’m doing now? What if the kids know more than I do about this?
Growth doesn’t come sans pain. Pain from the limitations of our network. Pain from colleagues wondering why on Earth I have need for such “bells and whistles” when I should simply teach grammar and writing (because we all know there’s no room on the Internet for coherent writers, right?).
Pain from knowing there are limitations for me to plan for a sub with all this Internet-based learning. Pain from my own doubts about whether this is really the right thing to do for my students.
After years of continuously honing my “early adopter” skill set, I have come to this simple conclusion: If I can’t beat ’em, I’ll join ’em. Kids today have levels of connectivity that we could never have even dreamed of in the past ten years! I’ve got some learning to do of my own if I’m going to meet them where they’re at so let’s go.
When integrating technology into your classroom, it may help by starting with these considerations:
Our roles as educators and parents of middle level learners are daunting ones. We somehow need to prepare our youth for a business world that requires skills not found in teachers’ manuals or academic model standards. Yet repeatedly, we hear business leaders tell us our graduates lack skills necessary for this “new” real world. What do we do to combine our real world of academic accountability and test scores with our students’ future real world of business?
In his book, The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner identifies seven survival skills our students need to not only survive, but thrive, in a 21st-Century business climate. To give insight into what business leaders want from their future employees, Wagner summarizes below:
Now we know what the expectations are. What can we, as educators and parents, do to nurture our middle level learners’ growth in their next “real world?”