Back in the Classroom

After working for five years as a district-level technology facilitator, I am now returning to the classroom. It's my goal to make my 5th grade class a model for how technology can be powerfully integrated into instruction and learning. Join my students and me on the journey! It's sure to be bumpy, but exciting...

Location: Schaumburg, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Perspective Revisited

I've joined the ranks of teachers who perpetually feel like they're a month behind on everything that needs to be covered. So much needs to be done to turn this boisterous horde into functioning learning groups. I find the content of many lessons becomes waylaid by the need to establish good processes for accomplishing tasks. I know in my educator’s heart that the time spent up front on building effective cooperative teams will payoff in good team learning later on, but that list of “standards to be covered” isn’t growing smaller. Six-hour days, with time taken out for PE, art, music, sign language, library, library 2, orchestra & band lessons and speech leaves little time to accomplish some heavy goals!

And so where does technology integration fit into this confusion? As a user, I consider myself to be at a high-level on the continuum of technology integration. These past few weeks have knocked me down a few notches. Certainly I’m using technology in my instruction and for preparing materials. My students know the computer is my tool of choice for research on a topic, or for learning through animations. I’ve even managed to grab our building’s new document camera so the whole class can watch me write in my Writer’s Notebook, and we can zoom in on our meal worms.

What’s lacking in my classroom is students learning through touching technology. The excuse of the “iBook battery recall” passed a few days ago. Yet, I find myself hesitating to take out the computers because it’s just one more set of procedures and processes that have to be introduced and managed – one more speed bump in the road to covering what must be mastered. If I, a seriously geeky teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience, am reluctant to tackle just the management end of the iBooks, how must the novice or even veteran non-users feel? I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the classroom teacher's perspective when it came to integration of technology. I think I managed forget or block out some of the more tedious and onerous aspects of a teacher's daily life. This back in the classroom experience is one I’ll share with my friends who still devote their full energies to educational technology!