Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Technology?

Why technology? Honestly, a couple of years ago I did not give much thought to that question. In reality, other than using the Internet for research, I did not use technology much in my personal or professional life. However, about two years ago I had several things happen in my career that lead me to increase my use of technology in my personal and professional life.

One day in Spring of 2006, I received an article from a colleague entitled “Listening to Students Voices-On Technology". This article was research-based and focused on students’ perceptions, behavior with technology in and out of school. According to the article, the students seemed to have some ideas about why technology was not being used more in American schools. The students, felt that many of their teachers are behind them in the use of technology and tended to fear it. The day after I read this article, I happened to be spending some time with some students from another county and I mentioned some of the things in the article to them. Their responses were mixed with laughter as they related to the things in the article. They told stories about breaking through firewalls just prove that they could. Teachers being so fearful of the Internet, they have outlawed the use of it in their classrooms. They also discussed the frustration of having to wait until they got home to work on certain school projects, because of these restrictions. However, they went on to talk about the teachers who perhaps didn't know a lot in regards to technology, but they wanted to learn. They enjoyed helping and learning with those teachers. When asked about their interest in going around firewalls etc. in those classes they said, “We don’t have to. We are too busy with other stuff.” It was then that I realized that I could no longer put my head in the sand and pretend that the world is not changing around me. Sure the Internet is a little scary, but I would much rather my students face those dangers with guidance then alone. To say nothing of the fact that with some education, some of those issues could be avoided.