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January 29, 2015

Reading Response #2

We had three readings to respond to this week.  I will start by responding to the one I have the most to say about.  The article entitled What do Schools Risk by Going “Full Google”, talks about jumping into teaching with technology full scale; total immersion, if you will.  It is fairly well-written and highlights the benefits and drawbacks of this growing trend.  What do I have to say about this article?  Well, … seeing this is my blog, which is the only place where it really matters what my opinion is, let me tell you my thoughts.

I agree that technology is a useful tool, and I agree that teachers who do not use it will be left behind.  They will not be taken seriously by colleagues, parents, or students.  It is necessary to “get with the times”.  Now that we have established this truth, we will move on…

to my reservations about embracing this technological age hook, line, and sinker.  In nearly every class we have taken up to this point in my education degree, we have explored what things make a teacher a good one.  We have reflected on a teacher we remember from our childhood and reflected on why we loved him or her.  Was it because they were amazing at explaining math, spelling, or the properties of gravity in ways that gave us goosebumps?  The answer is NO.  The reason we remember great teachers is because of the human qualities they invested into our learning experience that impacted us on an emotional level.  Sorry Google, we are not robots.  We have feelings.

Moderation, I believe, is a necessary ingredient in life and I think technology is no exception to this rule.  Think about it.  Anything, no matter how great it is, is best served in moderation.  Too much, even if it is a good thing, means you are making sacrifices elsewhere.  (Considering there are primarily females in my class, I think this illustrates my point.)

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I fear that too much technology leads to inadequate, meaningless, human interaction which could create a generation of children who feel indifferent.  I feel that too much technology can create a generation of people who are at greater risk than ever before for addiction.  I also believe that too much technology may contribute to a generation of people whose life expectancy, for the first time in history, decreases due to an inactive lifestyle.  These fears are not based on moderation, they are based on excessive use of technology; too much.  So what is the role of schools and educators?  Well, I DO NOT believe it is to become paperless, faceless, online institutions.  I think schools need to help children learn self control at a younger age than ever, so they do not become addicted to technology and everything it offers.  Think about it, not long ago it would have been hard for a young man to become addicted to porn considering he had to go down to the local convenience store and awkwardly buy an issue and then keep it hidden from his mother.  Now at any age, a young man could be accessing any kind of porn, anytime of day.  It’s just easier now.  It is easier to become informed and it is easier to become consumed.

Lost to an acceptable addiction, many people will be able to justify their behavior while their lives pass them by.  School can play a role in helping students understand proper and improper use of technology.  Schools also need to educate about online safety, bullying, and advertising.

A fully technological school also runs the risk of creating an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots.  If a family cannot afford the latest technology in a totally technical school environment, their children will remain disadvantaged.  Cutting edge schools are not going to be situated in low socioeconomic areas.  The divide between rich and poor has now gone from being a forty dollar brand name T-shirt, to a device starting at 250.00.  Good luck, parents.

In an online classroom, it is going to be hard for teachers to know their students and understand their needs.  As a hands-off teacher, it may be easy to overburden students and not be in touch with their needs.  Remember it is easier for everyone, even adults, to be more indifferent when interacting solely online.

Am I against technology?  Not at all.  I believe it would be ignorant not to use technology in the classroom.  It can be useful on so many levels; organization, learning, communication, entertainment, data collection and storage, to name a few.  To not take advantage of these tools would be down right stupid!  However, to teach and interact in a classroom using only technology is equally as stupid.  We are educating social beings who need to develop a strong sense of self so they do not become consumed by the unrealistic world of entertainment and social media.  These young individuals need, now more than ever, to develop work ethic, interpersonal skills, self-control, discretion, empathy, how to use technology, and how to refrain from abusing it, along with numerous other traits, in order to succeed.  Remember your favorite teacher?  Meaningful interactions made the difference, and they can not take place through a device.  Can the learning, networking, organization, and communication be assisted by technology?  It absolutely should be.  They key is moderation.

9 Things Every Student Should Be Able to Do with Google Drive  made me understand I have A LOT to learn!  I know how to do 0 out of the 9 things they say students should be able to do.  Gulp!

I liked the 32 ways to Use Google Aps in Schools article.  This is the list I want to use to pick the Google app I am supposed to learn about.  There are numerous user friendly ideas for the classroom in this document.  Many of the ideas enrich students’ learning through the use of technology.  I particularly liked idea #25 Invite a Guest Lecturer into Your Classroom, and idea #32 Extend Classroom Discussions Using Moderator.  I will be referring back to this article in the future.

Check out and answer my survey for some time well wasted. This survey proves I know how to use 1 Google tool now!

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