Over the past two days, I attended the Glacie Conference in Toronto. We had the privilege of interacting with a group of educators from Scotland as well as one from Maine and it was so amazing to hear how they use technology in education! My mouth was (and still is) salivating at the thought of how much technology both groups have to use in their classrooms.
One of the educators from Scotland was discussing the use of Macs in their classroom. It was so interesting to hear her describe the students’ use of Garageband and Keynote when working on assignments. The key aspect that I appreciated though, was that she emphasized that the computers are a tool and that the educators must have a purpose for using the technology rather than just saying here’s the computer now work. She also described how intuitive the students are with the computers and that their creativity just abounds when they get to use the technology. Her ideas really resound with my philosophy of technology in the classroom and in all honesty, talking with her was one of the highlights of the conference for me! Thanks Gillian!
The group from Maine were from the Maine Support Network and they had a really interesting presentation about their use of technology in the classroom. Maine has a 1:1 laptop to student program for their middle schools and they are now moving it into the high schools. I can’t even imagine the possibilities if every student had his or her own laptop to use every day at school. The presenters had us consider how we could infuse technology to aid in student learning and engagement. It makes me wonder, though, did it take a while to get all of their colleagues on board for this kind of new teaching? I would consider myself a ‘digital native;’ however, I know many other teachers do not embrace the concept of technology in the classroom or are scared of looking like a fool in front of their students. I, myself, have no qualms about not being the ‘all-knowing teacher’ so it doesn’t bother me, but I can imagine that it would be a difficult sell for others.
Finally, my last question about the Maine 1:1 program is about funding. Where do they get the money to buy every student a laptop? Our technology budget has just been reduced, and in this economy, is not likely to be increased for a long time so it makes me curious about how we can get more money flowing into our classrooms with a focus on technology without it being diverted to textbooks or other expenses?
Thanks for reading and as always, feedback is welcome and encouraged!