Educational Technology- Past and Present

On Tuesday evening, we reflected on our previous experiences with technology and also discussed how technology has evolved. Listening to my classmates share their earliest memories of technology was very amusing, as it was easy for me to relate to the many examples shared. My first memory of technology consisted of using an IBM computer, which did not have internet access but was mostly used for practicing proper typing techniques or used for playing Oregon Trail. At this time, this was the only exposure I ever experienced from using a computer within my school. I also remember owning a Super Nintendo game system at my house and would play entertainment games called Super Mario World, Donkey Kong and Duck Hunt. My first cell phone came in a tin can and was only capable of making in and out-going calls. Well, the times have certainly changed and technology (both in its hard and soft forms) continues to evolve, sometimes faster than we are prepared for.

For our first blog entry in EC&I 833, we were asked to define educational technology. At first, I felt overwhelmed because I really didn’t know how to define it. But then I realized, I was too concerned with thinking about the theory/pedagogy of educational technology rather than my own understanding about educational technology. Therefore, educational technology is a tool used to aid in instruction and for student understanding. Technology within education serves many purposes: Technology improves overall access to education, assistive technology is beneficial for students with disabilities and can improve their overall educational experience, and it provides independence and allows people to be given a voice within the world. It also provides personalized learning, data and analytics and competency-based education as described in video below. However, as discussed in last week’s class, there is a bias to technology. Often, technology is viewed more so as a distraction within schools rather than helpful. Technology often contributes to narrowing the achievement gap as some individuals are more privileged than others and do not have access to it nor is assistive technology available to all who may benefit from it. Moreover, technology is expensive and socio-economic status or geographical location may impact technology as it is not accessible for all individuals. Despite these differences, as a teacher and an individual who relies on technology within my everyday life, I believe that technology is a priority within our advancing society and truly has value if it is used appropriately. Technology has not only benefited me in my personal life, but it has allowed me to excel within my profession. Neil Postman states, “technology is not additive: It is ecological”. This implies that technology is always changing as do the way we do things.

Before the 2016-2017 school year began, I was a Specialist teacher for 6 years. My teaching assignment was Core French. As a specialist teacher, it was very difficult for me to include technology into my daily lessons as I was only in each classroom for 30-45 minutes. Therefore, timing was not in my favor and did not provide me with the opportunity to include technological learning. However, this school year I have transferred into a classroom position and I am excited to have the time as well as the resources to finally include technological learning into my daily lessons. I’m not saying it will be easy, it will take a great deal of planning in order to be used successfully and to be beneficial to my students learning needs. However, I am optimistic in my ability to teach my students about internet safety and how to be good digital citizens. As part of incorporating technological learning, teachers are required to educate students about Digital Fluency, focusing on privacy protection, rights and responsibilities and respective online behavior.