I am attending my first International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) convention in Atlanta, GA. In a word, WOW! Over the course of my nearly 20 years as a professional educator and self proclaimed technopedagogue. (I’m not 100% what a technopedagogue is, but one of my tweeps @nxchauvin shared the term with me and it sounded like something I should aspire to become, I think.) Essentially, I like to learn and love how technology can enhance my skills as an educator.
Don’t be mistaken! High quality teachers can use nothing more than a chalk board. However, ignoring the technology tools that exist for teaching and learning today would be criminal or least malpractice. Why such harsh terms? The tools we have at our disposal can easily enhance communication, provide students a voice where there wasn’t one in the past, make learning accessible beyond the school day, and prepare our learners for college, career, and life.
Imagine going to the dentist. Some of us may not like to think about the dentist, but ignore the memories solidified in your mind by the high pitch whine of the drill and the vibration on your jaw (sorry). Many years ago dentists didn’t use numbing agents when drilling into your teeth. How would you respond if your dentist said, “Oh, come on. I don’t need to use any of that “innovative” medicine to make your visit more comfortable. I’ve been doing it this way for years and haven’t lost a patient.” If my dentist said that I’d be looking for a replacement.
At #ISTE2014, I have learned plenty and we aren’t even half way through the second day. Here are some tools, some innovative and others less so, that have already been shared at ISTE that may enhance your instruction in the 21st Century.
1. A common hurdle educators have is the hurdle of effective communication. Parents’ time is being pulled in many directions Remind may be the tool to strengthen communication and relationships. Some teachers in my home district already use it and I love to get the reminders from them as a parent. It isn’t obtrusive.
2. Here is a collection of tools that some would consider social media: Twitter, Google Apps for Education (GAFE), Edmodo. Regardless of the tool, we should consider joining our students on their turf. If we want to build relationships with others we must learn their language to communicate.
3. This isn’t really a tool, but is common among my conversations with other #ISTE2014 attendees. It isn’t about the shiny new device. It is about the learning and applying devices that match the needs of the learner. That means we have to use the same skills that the best educators used decades ago to build quality relationships with our students, fellow staff member (near and far), and our communities.
In the end, I’m attending a technology convention and the focus is on learning, AMEN!