I recently read an article in the New York Times about teachers in Idaho resisting their states push of technology into their classrooms. A lot of the article made it seem like once again teachers were afraid of being replaced by a computer and/or losing money to technology which could have been spent on salaries. I would love to be paid more but being paid more doesn’t mean shorting our students in the classroom.
Teachers will not be replaced in the classroom for a long time still. However, technology used correctly needs to happen now. As someone who has worked in a school district which has wasted money on technology I understand some people’s fears. This doesn’t change the fact that our students live in a vastly different world. They understand technology and thrive in its use. We can’t keep pretending we can shove the old way of learning down their throats.
I love technology and embrace using it in my room. I am a slightly above average math teacher. My true gift is language arts, in particular getting reluctant readers to read. I have sought out math lessons in the internet when I have struggled to teach a concept to my class. If someone out there knows how to do it better than I would be doing a disservice to my students not to seek it out.
Recently, I got into an argument with someone over using the Amazon Kindle in my classroom. They bemoaned the loss of actual books. Thought it was a shame students were reading on an electronic device. To which I replied, “hogwash!” Books are the delivery of words into a student’s imagination. How they are delivered there, makes no difference. My classroom Kindle is so popular the waiting list is silly long. My students like it so much they have raised the money to buy a second one. We have also convinced the school to buy us 5 more.
When I say my students, I mean all of my students. I have never found a better way to get a reluctant reader into a book. Do you know how hard it is to get a far below grade level 6th grader to read? One of the main reasons is shame. They don’t want anyone to know they are reading a 3rd grade book. They would rather act defiant or claim a dislike of reading. This just isn’t the case with Kindle. No one knows what you are reading. I have several reluctant readers who have devoured books on the Kindle. They have both already jumped a grade level and moved into harder books. You can’t get better if you don’t practice.
When it comes to reading this has been my most successful class ever. This is really saying a lot because I really am good at putting kids into books. Kids are begging to read this year. The coolness and anoymonity of the Kindle have a lot to do with this. I am glad my school has trusted me to pilot more Kindles. I would buy a class set if I could. Technology is only as good as the way you use it. For me e-readers (in this case Kindles) have been technological gold.