Before becoming a teacher my life was very low tech (even for back in those days). I worked in the health insurance business and had a wonderful assistant that produced all my documents on Word and Excel. I barely knew how to print. When I was offered the Business teacher position, I was upfront with my principal but I vowed to learn quickly and not let him down. I'm so thankful for that opportunity. Not only did I need a job at that point, but I found my place in this world and I discovered all the technology I was missing out on. I so fell in love with technology that as I worked on my Business Education teaching certification, I went on to earn a Master's in Instructional Technology. Fast forward a few years and I'm now teaching in a 1:1 district where every student and teacher is issued a Macbook and technology is just how I roll.
Now back to today's prompt. What tech tools am I most grateful for? Why? How have they changed what I do? Before I write my list, I will state why and how they have changed what I do. Before teaching at a 1:1 district, I wasn't nearly as student-centered as I am today. My teaching was more about curriculum, classroom management and test preparation. I think I was an effective teacher, but the better I have integrated technology, the better teaching and learning has been in my class. Sure, I can be a good teacher without the technology, but technology has changed my role, empowered my students and deepened learning. I am cognizant of the fact that technology is not a cure all, but I will say that with the right infrastructure, students will be more engaged and academic achievement will be higher. Sure we have our share of problems just like any other district, but overall MGSD does an amazing job and we have the results to prove it.
Okay, now here's my list of the tools I'm most grateful for:
1. iPhone. Can't go anywhere without it.
2. Macbook. So grateful that my district chose Macs. Once you go Mac, you don't go back.
3. Google Drive. I'm grateful it's free and does everything I need. Sure, it could be better but it let's us create the documents we need for effective teaching, learning, communicating, collaborating, problem-solving...all those 21st century skills.
4. Skype. While I don't use it very often, it made my list because I know that I will increase its use and I'm very excited about the abounding possibilities.
5. Twitter. Last but not definitely not least. My family would say I'm a Twitter addict, but connecting with educational professionals around the globe has changed my perspective and accelerated my growth.
As crazy as it sounds, through technology I have come to realize that it is not about technology, but about pedagogy. And pedagogy is not about tools, curriculum or test scores, but it's about the human lives we touch every day.