Making Technology Work

The free tech blog is fascinating, its wonderfully seeing all the different programs that teachers have found and are using and how they’re using them. I like that every post has the Applications for Education so that its easy to see exactly how to use a program and whether it will work for you or not.

On the other hand the NETS-T uses five clearly statements to help teachers figure out how to use technology the most effectively. I was most impressed by how the guidelines are clearly about using technology as a tool and not the end result in and of itself. So that good tech is useful, but for it to truly be useful within the school environment that it has to be within a thoughtful course that shows a student how to understand and think about how to best use technology. I can easily see how a teacher could take these and consider them as they were putting together a program since they provide useful guidelines and ideas within them.

I’ve found that the balance of using technology in my courses is made up of many different things and that I keep finding out that what I expect to be hard isn’t always. Since I’m comfortable using some forms of technology yet other forms seem to trip me up when I least expect it. One of the unusual challenges of the School of Information is that the range of expected techs and experiences is great and so what’s easy for one person isn’t simple to another. It seems like one of the trickiest and yet most critical things that someone who teaches using technology is understanding how best to evaluate student skills.

On the other hand the standards from the International Society for Technology in Education seem focused on maximizing every aspect of digital resources. The language that’s used seems to slightly obfuscate what they’re talking about and makes it a little trickier to understand exactly what they mean. Overall these standards actually seem like they would be quite effective as they speak to innovating and doing as much as possible with digital resources but they don’t seem to say how to accomplish this simply that it should be.

The challenge of how best to monitor and use digital resources seems like a highly important one in this day and age yet one with a great amount of challenges since its not always easy to know how best to make sure students really understand. Since the difference between knowing how to use tech and truly understanding how it works can be rather large. I know for myself personally this is where I seem to fall, because I can understand how to use some tech but not others. Thus I find myself thinking I know what I’m doing but when it comes time to adapt and try something else, I realize that I don’t know as much as I think. I think a lot of this is on me, because the best way to study and understand tech is to play around with it for things that there’s a feeling that you can mess around and be safe. I haven’t yet found the best way to do this for myself.

My thoughts on these readings ending up being more about myself than I quite meant to happen. I think taking a tech based foundation course and the various small projects that I’ve been doing have been showing me how much I really don’t know.

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