As I began the Facilitating Tech. Integration course, I didn’t really view myself as a technology leader at my school. I thought that I was simply a teacher who was interested in learning how to better use technology in her classes. I feel like the view of myself has changed as a result of this course. I think that my role at school is to be a technology advocate.
I don’t really think that my view of the technology issues my school faces has changed as a result of this course. The issues at my school are still the same. As I mentioned in class, I teach high school English to at-risk, pregnant and parenting teenagers at an alternative school in Richfield. The fact still remains that we are desperately in need of better resources for our students and for our staff. I do believe that the way I will be handling these problems is different now. After taking this course, I feel like my voice is stronger. We were given many readings to complete for the course, and each one helped to strengthen my resolve. I feel now that I need to be an advocate for my students and for my school, to make sure that our needs are being met.
The course increased my awareness of many technology leadership issues that we, as a nation, face. I was most affected by the reading by D. Tapscott, called “The Digital Divide”. This digital divide is what I am most concerned about at my school. My students fall into the “have-nots” in most instances and I definitely see them as being “have-nots” when it comes to technology. In order to best prepare my students, they really should have adequate access to a wide variety of technologies through our school. Many of them do not have this access at home, and school seems like the best place to introduce them to technology. At the present moment, though, we cannot do that. Although it would be easy to read the Tapscott article and feel disheartened, it makes me feel determined to speak up for technology at my school. I also want to do everything I can, with the technology we have, to integrate technology lessons in my classes.
Another idea that made a difference to me were some of the frameworks for technology integration that I was introduced to in the course. I think that our country has the wrong idea about technology. It seems like we simply want to throw money at the technology “problem”, but we aren’t adequately training our teachers to incorporate it into their classes. Hughes’ framework, RAT, made the most sense to me. It helped me to take a look at how I am using technology in my classes. I think this would be a great framework for schools to use as they assess their technology integration. So often, we see technology as a cure-all; this is misguided. Technology is really no replacement for good teaching. I think, though, that technology can really enhance lessons and, as the framework suggests, transform the teaching and learning that is occurring in the classroom.
What I learned in Tech. Integration, relates very well to my every day challenges as a teacher. I think, as a result of the course, I am going to be more aware of my own tech. integration and the challenges that my school faces with technology. As I mentioned, the RAT framework, is really going to help me examine how I am using technology. One way I am planning to better incorporate technology is through the use of blogs. This was simply a tool used in our course, but, for me, it seems like a simple and attainable way for me to use the technology we have to enhance my students’ skills with computers. Although it is a little thing to do, I think it is a great start for me.
I feel that the course has influenced my vision for technology at my school. Although I was, at times, feeling quite pessimistic about technology at my school, I feel I have been given tools to increase my optimism. I know we have a long way to go, but the information I have been given will increase my own technology integration and I plan to become more of a leader and an advocate at my school. I feel like the knowledge I now have will make it easier for me to start the dialogue at my school and my district about the importance of technology and the steps we need to take to be fully integrated. I know that simply throwing equipment at our school will not do what we need; we need to work as a team to make sure it is used and is helping to, at least, amplify what we are doing in the classrooms.
I know that we still have a long way to go in this field, but I am leaving this course excited for the future. I know what we need is attainable, and I will make my voice heard about the issues that we are facing. This course has helped me change the way I view myself and technology integration in my field and at my school.