Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Reading: Ditch that Textbok

Several years ago I decided to go back to school and get my Master's in Educational Technology. The program was all online, and I have to tell you, that it had a profound impact on me as a teacher. What I learned was far beyond the teacher preparation I received as an undergrad.

There was a lot of technology use in my class during my time in the program, and shortly following it. I am ashamed to say that I've used less and less technology in the past couple of years. It's not because I don't want to use technology, I just feel that it has become more difficult. Our district (which I love) lacks in technology resources and a lot of sites have been blocked. I understand the reasoning, it just makes it even more difficult to use technology in ways that really make learning really effective.

This was the book I needed to get me out of that funk. The title is a bit misleading because what Matt encourages teachers to do is to replace textbooks with the incredible technology tools we have today. While I won't be able to go completely paperless I was reinvigorated with the possibilities technology offers and how I can be creative and resourceful with what I've got. Namely the majority of my 5th graders owning a smartphone or other device (I've already got our district's Bring Your Own Technology form ready for Meet the Teacher Night!). Over the years I've gotten several useful technology tools in my classroom from the amazing Donors Choose and so I figured it had been while since I set up a project and have one already started to get a couple of tablets. Just taking a few steps is setting me back on the path to revolutionize my class!

Matt also goes into depth about how teachers need to change their mindset on what our roles are. We are no longer the receptacles of knowledge. Most of the questions my students ask me I don't know the answer to, and I am so lucky that we don't have to sift through volumes of encyclopedias (although I do remember enjoying them as a kid, I know, I was a weird kid). Today we need to teach kids how to make their own discoveries using the incredible tools we have. The hope is that we can foster their curiosity and creativity and encourage students to be the innovators that we need!

Well, that's the end of my summer reading posts. I enjoyed relaxing and filling my teacher brain with new ideas. I've got only a few more days of my summer vacation left before I get to take what I've learned from Dave, Paul, Don, and Matt to make this year the best one yet!

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