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Technology engaging and empowering our students!

on October 26, 2014

technology

I have always loved to learn new technology and utilize it to engage my students.  This can be exciting and frustrating all at the same time.  It is important in education for us to take risks and be okay to fail.  I have always encourage teachers to take risks so I am compelled to follow my own advice.

I am not sure when it happened but I became the “techie” at St. Kateri.  I am the one they go to when the technology does not work.  I love to help and feel accomplished when I figure out the issue but when I can not; the feeling of frustration sets in.  The key it not to give up and remain positive. It is my duty to support my teacher in their classrooms so I must keep moving and solving the issues.

Four years ago I was given the opportunity to embark on a journey of one to one iPad initiative.  It was  an opportunity that fell into my lap and I ran with it.  It was exciting and frustrating all at the same time.  Hours were spent researching apps that would help my students be creators and innovators or apps that would assist struggling students.  Students who were unable to write were finding success and felt good about themselves.  Students who were bored with traditional education found a way to showcase their strengths and creativity. It gave new life and love of learning to our classroom. Students are demanding ownership of their learning and our teaching role has changed!  I embrace this change and I am excited to see my students achievements.

The key to putting technology into students hands is to ensure that they understand digital citizenship; with the privilege of having the technology, brings great responsibility. The second issue it that an iPad or computer can easily become a fancy worksheet.  Worksheets are not engaging and my husband, Andrew reminded me the other day, “Worksheets do not grow dendrites Lee!” My goal for putting technology in our students hands is to have them develop their critical thinking, feed their creativity, and create innovators who guide their own learning.  The technology is not what engages the students it is how we empower them with technology that does.

This year has brought new challenges in technology.  Changes have been made with the way we are pushing apps to our school iPads.  To say that it has been frustrating is an understatement.  I see the vision and understand the reasons behind the change.  I actually believe in the changes and I know that in the end it will save us time but today it is costing me hours and hours of my time.  What option do I have, give up and go back to the old way of teaching?  No way, if you know me at all you know that I am too stubborn to give up.  It has been a curse and a gift my whole life:)

The technology does not always work the way it should, it is slow and I am learning as I go.  Teachers are frustrated and I can’t seem to get to them fast enough.  We will persevere and be better for it as we support each other. I have our tech guys on speed dial and I can not say enough about the support and guidance they have given me.  Clint and Neil are patient and understanding and without them we would not be able to implement technology into our classrooms.  I continually ask Neil if he ever gets angry and I believe that he does not! Both are there to support and guide me to deepen my own understanding of technology.

My goal for technology this year is to have all our iPads up and running for all our teacher, hopefully by the end of this week:)  I must develop my skills to confidently trouble shoot any issues that may arise with the technology in our building if we are to be successful. (Hopefully making less calls to support.) My dream is that that our students become digitally aware and responsible, using the technology to deepen their learning which will grow dendrites! Lastly, that our teachers embrace the gift that we have been given and use it to empower their students.

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