Topics: Education Technology
When we discuss STEM classes and content, by their very nature, we are talking about multiple cross-curricular concepts. Engineering is math and math leads to technology, which requires science, which is what engineers study, and so on and so forth. So why should we consider how STEM concepts can branch out even further into our classrooms?
A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he was looking for a life change. He wanted a new start in a new place with a new career. He just threw it out there for people to tell him what they thought about his future plans.
Of course, there were some funny and non-serious comments, but there was also a wide variety of serious suggestions. From stand-up comic to running a small business, the ideas were very wide and diverse. My question to him was, “Why not teach?”
Many of us probably remember wonderful days in our elementary classroom listening to stories read by our teacher. These stories, whether they were picture books in kindergarten or chapter books in fifth grade, were a major part of my upbringing in elementary school and one of my favorite times of the school day. I distinctly remember in fourth grade listening to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and being sorely disappointed when we watched the movie and the details had changed. I had such a vivid picture in my head of the characters and setting. Our entire class had the collective language of the story that we could talk about and discuss.
Topics: tips for teachers
The breadth of parent opinions on technology is very wide. Philosophies differ from parents who give their 4-year-old a phone and Instagram account to those who wait until high school for a student to have an email address and everything in between. Speaking as a current parent of children between the ages of 1 and 15, navigating this world of technology is hard.
There are no real guidelines or rules for how we should handle it all. With the experiences and exposure of kids being so varied, it can feel like a constant uphill battle—all of which schools should consider. As institutions, we hope to work with parents as partners to help their students become successful. I believe all parents know that the ability to use technology is an important future-ready skill. But the age that we begin and the depth that we go to—that is up for debate.
When a parent comes into school to discuss technology, they are typically not there to share positive feedback about all the recent wonderful integration lessons that have been going on in the classroom. It is usually just the opposite—concerns about how their student is accessing, using, overusing, or manipulating the technology in the classroom.
Although some of these concerns might be misplaced or lack knowledge about exactly what is going on, other concerns are very valid and need to be considered. So as a teacher or principal, it will be helpful to consider how to prepare for these concerns.
Teachers who are blessed with an assortment of technology in their classroom probably use it often—we are more likely to use something if it is readily available to us. But like any new tool, as we start to gain expertise and comfort with it, we use it more and more. And as we settle into a pattern of use with the technology, we probably feel as though it would be hard to live without.
But even if this is the case and usage is very high, teachers may find themselves in a groove, maybe even a rut, when it comes to how they use technology in their classroom. We limit ourselves to using the tool in ways that we already know and think less about the ways that we could be using it.
In part one of this series, we did a quick rundown of the ISTE standards. Looking closer at these standards, you’ll learn how they can help students to engage, and even more importantly, to think. Don’t be deceived—just because ISTE is a technology organization, the standards are about good teaching and not just about how we use technology in the classroom.