Keeping Up With the "Techies"
My Future as a Learner: Juggling a Variety of Technologies
By: Mallory Pickens
Living in a day and age where technology is constantly being updated and “rereleased” for consumers to buy, there is a sense of urgency to keep up with the new and upcoming technologies. As an educator, I have learned the importance to never get “too comfortable” when it comes to my own education inside and outside of the classroom. If society and technology are ever evolving, to truly be an effective teacher, I too have to be ever evolving and constantly learning to keep up with the “techies”. In reflecting upon my future career as an educator and a learner I think about the quote from John Wooden, “Be observing constantly. Stay open minded. Be eager to learn and improve.” This quote resonated with me from when I first applied to the MAET program and, as I currently am finishing up the program looking to my future.
First, “Be observing constantly”. Throughout my experiences in the undergraduate Education program and the MAET program, I found myself in constant observation mode. During undergrad, we spent most of our time in a classroom observing the classroom teacher and the students. By the time I began my internship and then the MAET program, I truly was a “master observer”. I learned very quickly in the MAET program that reflection is not just meant for watching others. We spent several courses analyzing what we were doing in our own classrooms and what was working and what could be improved. Observation became one of the most useful tools for learning and growing as an educator and as I exit the MAET program, I will continue to remind myself that observation is one of the many keys to success in education. Even though, I will no longer be writing papers or meeting in a group discussion about my own observations, I plan to continue to discuss my reflections with my colleagues as well asking others to come in and observe me in the classroom. I also would like to observe other teachers not just in my building but in other schools as well as, to see best teaching practices that could be implemented in my own classroom. Observation is a fundamental tool in education.
Second, “Stay open minded”. There have been several different discussions throughout my experience in the MAET program about “best practices” in the classroom. I have learned that is very important to stay in the know of what other teachers are doing in the classroom and what research is showing about specific teaching styles and techniques. With a technology constantly changing it is crucial to keep an open mind when it comes to integrating these tools in the classroom. I have learned so many different ways to incorporate technology into my curriculum, but it shouldn’t stop there. My goal is to continue to purse this knowledge by staying in communication with other teachers not just in my own building but also across the country by blogging and attending conferences. I truly believe there is never one “best” practice, but one that works with your current students and as student come and go I should also be open to adjusting the different ways I teach my students. Technology has already begun to play a huge role in school discussions and I do believe it should continue to be a focus in future classrooms.
Finally, “Be eager to learn and improve”. Before I began my journey towards my masters, I always considered myself to be very technologically advanced – I felt I knew everything there was about technology, well I was wrong. In completing my masters, I have learned that you can truly never know enough when it comes to implementing technology in the classroom. I have gained so much knowledge over the course of the program that I have not only applied in my own classroom but also shared with my colleagues. As I close the door on my masters program and open a new one into my future, I realize the endless possibilities my future can hold when it comes to acquiring new knowledge and improving my own understanding of technology. As I continue to further my learning, I have realized that endless amounts of knowledge that is at my fingertips and I cannot wait to see what path it takes me down next.