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Utilizing Personal Skills While Embracing Technology

There is a fear that if students utilize technology on a daily basis, they will lose their social skills.  Common Core has Speaking and Listening Standards and if anything, I believe that technology can increase collaboration with our students as well as create more opportunities to interact with peers, professional colleagues, and teachers.

First: Interacting with Peers- A fantastic teacher in our building had students working on alliteration this week.  Students were given an opportunity to choose their platform and how they wanted to present their project.  Students were collaborating on ideas, discussing alliteration and how they could present that to an audience and then students made iMovies or Windows Movie Maker presentations to present to the class.  Not only did students clearly show they understood what alliteration was, but they were able to engage and interact with peers, receive ongoing feedback from their teacher, and they were able to create.  I think that is key- they were able to create something in their education and not just consume it.  There was no regurgitation back onto a test.

Second: Interacting with Professional Colleagues- I have witnessed numerous times this year teachers able to have guest speakers interact with their students through the use of Skype.  Students are able to ask questions of professionals that without technology, they would never have the chance.  Students are able to interact and engage with a wide range of individuals who have different backgrounds and knowledge that they are able to share and help our students grow as people.  Technology opens doors that without it, students would not even know existed.

Third: Interacting with Teachers- Pedagogy and good teaching will ALWAYS be the driver in education.  You cannot give students a “shiny box” or a laptop/tablet and expect everything will be great.  Teachers need PD and time to plan on how to integrate technology in their lesson and integrate it effectively- not using it just to use it.  With that being said, technology further opens the door for students to interact and engage with staff.  Students can receive ongoing and timely feedback while writing a paper in Google Drive and sharing with their teacher who then can provide comments for the student.  Students can turn in assignments and engage with their teachers outside of “normal business hours”.  Teachers can still have students present their work to class because as I stated earlier, Common Core does have speaking and listening standards that students have to be taught.  We need students to learn the value of speaking to their peers and adults because this is a MAJOR skill needed to be College and Career Ready.

I love technology and feel that it enhances education.  I fully understand concerns people may have but I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives.  We had a student at Clear Spring tell us that curriculum would no longer be limited by textbooks but it could be limitless with technology.  Technology presents opportunities for our students and it will be our job to teach them how to use the technology appropriately so that they are prepared for College and/or Career.  I saw a saying that I tweeted one time that states “Pedagogy is the Driver, Technology is the Accelerator”.  I love this saying because to me it states that Pedagogy will always be king and what comes first, but technology will allow our students to get where we want them much quicker.

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