What if teachers, administrators, and budget-passing school board members viewed technology as a way of life rather than a tool? What if students were encouraged to learn how to find answers and solutions instead of just memorizing facts and figures? It can happen.
This week I attended the Educator Technology Clinic Showcase at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Teachers from central Pennsylvania shared how they integrated computer technology into their classrooms. My favorite presenter, Lisa Butler from Hershey Middle School, just happens to also be my go-to person for educational technology. Check out her blog for more cool tools.
Not only are her students learning Spanish, they are also equipped to find answers, empowered to seek better solutions, and encouraged to use whatever technology is available to them in the process. Because Internet access is available in the classroom for all students, she uses Glogster to put directions and URLs related to an assignment on one very visually interesting page. She has her students using Moodle to test their mastery of concepts. They have a choice of using the classroom computers or their cell phones to search Google for facts, translation help, and culturally relevant information. They dialogue in Spanish in real time with Cover It Live. Every class has their own blog which tells parents and absent students everything they need to know about what went on in class that day. Senorita Butler’s students are excited about Spanish because they are engaged in the process of learning, thanks to technology.
Learning how to use technology is not the goal or the end result. Instead, Ms. Butler is nurturing a love of language, answer-seeking, and solution-providing that will be a valuable asset when these learners enter the business world and the global community.