Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Does Technology = A Great Teacher?

What makes a teacher great? 

 Is using technology ever been in the definition of a great teacher? Obviously no.  My definition of a great teacher, is a person who inspires their students.  That knows their students' interests and their learning needs.  A great teacher establishes accountably and continually makes sure their students are gaining the knowledge needed.  A great teacher fosters a rich learning climate in their classroom that celebrates successes and mistakes.  I strive to be a great teacher everyday.

Has technology helped me to be a better teacher?  

I think so. No. I know so.  Social media like Twitter has connected me with great teachers from all over the world.  They have pushed my teaching boundaries.  The way I teach is constantly evolving and I am learning new ways to embrace technology and use it to my advantage for my students.  The Internet, computers and the iPads in my room have flattened my classroom walls.  Student's are not only learning from me.  They are learning from other teachers and peers on different continents.  They are also teaching others what they know by tweeting and making their learning visible on their Kidblogs.

Does technology = A great teacher?

Can you give a teacher technology and they will instantly improve reading and math scores in their classroom?  Obviously not.  Teachers need to understand how students learn and to use technology as a tool.  I recently had a visit from Chris Knight (a consultant with GECDB)  into my classroom for a visit and he wrote the following in a blog post that you can find here.

 I noted some of the conditions that needed to exist for technology to be used effectively in this classroom:
1. The technology allowed the students to create things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
2. The technology gave the students a voice beyond the classroom.
3. The technology was used with very precise and intentional aims.
4. The technology allowed for student collaboration and conversation.
5. Many tasks were open and involved student exploration, investigation and decision-making.
Technology has changed the way I teach.  I still aim to inspire my students and to know my students' interests and needs, the same things I did when I didn't have all of this technology at my fingertips.  However, I am a better teacher now that I am utilizing technology in my classroom.  I also think it has become evident and will become more and more evident that using technology in an effective way in your classroom will be something a great teacher will have to do. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristen,

    I like where you went in this post. Having visited many, many classrooms I am more certain now than ever that if ineffective teaching practice and a lack of understanding of how students learn are evident, technology will make little to no difference. Integrating technology does not have to be hard, and isn't when the focus is on the learning and not the tool. I believe that good teachers get better when they use technology thoughtfully but that technology use does not improve poor teaching. My definition of a great teacher is one who understands how students learn and creates the conditions and opportunities for them to flourish. The world we live in today means these opportunities often include technology (in the way you describe "flattening" your classroom"). Your closing sentiment reminds me of the quote, "technology won't replace teachers, but those who use it will replace those who don't".