When I first started my career as an educator 8 years ago, the first thing I told myself was I would never use a chalkboard, and yes there were still chalkboards at the time. I immediately recognized the power of technology integration in the classroom and vowed to use it whenever possible. I was lucky to start my career as a reading teacher and was placed in a room with a class set of laptops. The instruction was driven by reading programs and software to help the schools most struggling readers, English language learners, and special education students achieve success.
Being a Generation Y’er, I grew up during the technology boom. I was born a digital native and with innate abilities increased my digital literacy as I grew older. I am lucky enough to catch on to new technology fast and I am generally an early adopter of new tech trends.
It started when I was a child, tinkering with electronics and building robots, and grew when I fell in love with cellphones. I always wanted the coolest cellphone. Eventually, that lead me to Apple when I got the first iPhone in 2007 (and I have been an Apple fanboy ever since). So in 2010, when the first iPad was released, I started using an iPad in education before there was ever such a thing, and now the rest is history.
In my career, I have used Windows based PCs, Macs, iPads, Chromebooks, Smartboards, and a variety of software suites across those respective products. Technology has allowed me to improve my teaching and my students learning; however, I wasn’t a great teacher because I had technology, and technology alone didn’t help the students learned. If there is one thing I know, the technology will always change, but students’ needs stay the same: fostering creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
What I have come to realize, is that the most powerful tool in the classroom is the teacher. A teacher with a chalkboard, a teacher with a whiteboard, and a teacher with an iPad can all make magic happen in the classroom. Teachers build trust and nurture relationships that can never be replaced by technology. And if a teacher can be replaced by a piece of technology, then they deserve to be.
So then, why edtech? The simple answer is this, you’ve heard it said, we are preparing students for jobs, a future, and a workforce that doesn’t even exist yet. We are living in the digital age. It is important for teachers to help students become digital natives and improve their digital literacy as they grow in this rapidly changing world.
The goal of EdTechMason is to help educators realize that technology doesn’t have to be intimidating, and to show how education technology can transform teaching and learning. I will be sharing my favorite tips, tricks, and ideas on how to improve teacher pedagogy and student learning through technology integration. The same way the GPS transformed navigation, EdTechMason will transform teaching. So don’t ask why edtech, ask why not?