Do you remember using a cassette player, floppy disk, or having to hand crank the window of your car for it to go down? Did you own an encyclopedia and used it to do research? Our students can’t relate to any of these things. Most of them don’t know a world without internet. They don’t know what it means to sit patiently without a smartphone or other electronic device in their hands.
How can we reach our students so that our content is relevant and interesting to them? The answer is by using technology in the classroom. This is the point where some teachers say, “I don’t know how to use technology or I’m not comfortable with it”.
This profession isn’t about what’s best for us, but what’s best for our students. If that means stepping outside of our comfort zone, then that’s what our students need from us. We need to give them the skills they need to be successful in this technological world. Can you honestly say that our students don’t need or want us to use technology? Of course, not.
Where do we start? By being willing to try, accepting that we will make mistakes, and that we will learn from them. Also, by allowing students to see that we too are learning and growing, and willing to have them lead and teach us as well. You don’t have to become a computer expert all at once. Take baby steps. Focus on one thing you want to learn and move forward from there. Ask a friend. How do our students learn information online? They Google it! Search for how to… in Google or YouTube and you will be guided through step by step instructions. Technology is the gateway to our students future success, and it starts with us.
Barbara Sweet is a high school Spanish teacher and the Technology lead at her school in San Jose, California.