By Paul Silli
We live in a society that depends upon technology. You will find it in your employment, use it for recreation, and see the need for it in education. But the demands on technology are changing. How are educators supposed to keep-up with a world that is always moving? The answer: self-directed-learning. As educators we should try to re-invent ourselves if we are going to keep up with trends in society . It is important to find ways to improve and grow. If we don’t, we may just become one of those teachers who have been teaching the same way throughout a career.
To stay on top, we should seek opportunities to educate ourselves on new ways to reach our students. We could accomplish this by going back to school, learn new Web 2.0 programs or attend a conference …whatever! We should do anything we can to avoid “getting stuck in the mud.”
Learning new skills can help us deal with the many variables that affect our kids. I a m sure you heard the U.S. national divorce rate is near 52%. Kids are entering our classes with many social and family issues. One way to address these situations is to make ourselves approachable. That is, be truly kind and genuine with your students. Ask your kids what type of “technologies” they use when they are at home. A lot of them will be happy to share.
Awhile back I was having discipline problems with a student. I asked him after class – what was wrong. He told me his parents were going through a messy divorce. This situation was real ly bothering him, and of course, it was affecting his grades. In an effort to redirect his energy, I asked him what type of music he listened to. He then told me he liked “Green Day.” Being somewhat familiar with this rock band, I offered him the opportunity to pick one of their songs, and analyze what he thought the song was about. Then I asked him to relate the songs meaning with a social studies issue that was occurring in the world. The question was “What political statement is the band making through their music /songs?” He really got excited about this work, and did an incredible job. He brought in his MP3-player, and shared the music with the class. He then analyzed the lyrics with a PowerPoint In-play illustration. Through utilizing technology, I was able to turn a poor situation into a positive one. By being flexible with my approach, and allowing him to be creative in a “techie-way,” I was successful.
How do you use technology to enhance learning? Please share.