Some old-school thoughts
I have always been technology-averse. It’s not that I hate technology, although I do sometimes feel that technology hates me, it’s just that I like to do most things the old-fashioned way. Display boards? Why print them off a computer when I could write and draw them and practice my lettering skills. Why read an e-book when you can touch, feel and smell a real book! Why do an online calendar, when you can get so much satisfaction from ticking off boxes on a daily planner. You get what I mean…right? I am aware of how much technology helps us in our daily lives, but I still hold on to some things that I want to stay old school for a while.
Technology in Kindergarten
To be honest, taking this course about technology in education felt (and still feels!) daunting. Because I know that I’m not a techie, I felt like I won’t be able to contribute much to the course. Add to the fact that technology in Kindergarten sounds like an oxymoron to me. Compared to much older grade levels where technology plays a big role in the students’ lives, in Kinder, we try to get our kids less screen time. It’s not like we pry the iPads off the kids’ hands, but we do our best to make sure that our students are first exposed to other learning experiences before we bring out the tech stuff. Due to our students’ age, I do feel that most of them are not developmentally ready to use technology in the most productive manner, plus the lack of self-control could mean that they could just spend a lot of time in front of the screen without any let-up (if adults have trouble with control, imagine how it would be with 5 and 6-year olds!)
Another thing about technology in Kinder is that teachers want to scaffold its use so that kids would have a better idea of how to use technology in their lives. We’ve used technology more this second semester than the first one and we’ve noticed how the kids are becoming more effective in using the different apps. Blogging is developing to be almost semi-automatic for some kids, and they reach for their designated iPads whenever they make something that they’re proud of and want their parents to see at home. Now that we’re on a research-heavy unit about the human body, a lot of our students have been opting to use the Internet to find out answers to their questions and to help present their projects (one kid mentioned that he wants to do a slide show and I almost said, “Oh like Machu Picchu, oops Pecha Kucha!”) I just realized that this situation with technology does not have to be black and white. As it is with all things, there should be a balance between the presence and use of technology in the classroom, and well, when there isn’t technology in the classroom. The course has definitely opened me to new ways that I can use technology to help students with their learning.
At the beginning of EDT 601, I set out two pretty open goals of learning Minecraft and to not get left behind in technology. The Minecraft goal is still a work in progress. I’ve played the game a couple of times and I’ve been slowly getting used to the controls. I’m imagining how to introduce this to kids, especially those who are reluctant learners. I thought about how this would work well with the Grade 1 unit on Structures. Kids can build their shelters on the Creative Mode in Minecraft and they can choose to replicate their digital structures using wooden blocks, Legos, or whatever materials they find in the classroom.
I still don’t think I am as tech-savvy as I hope I would be, but I feel that I am definitely more open to technology after taking this course. After years of thinking that technology just isn’t for me, I am now beginning to believe that technology and I might just get along. And I think that’s what matters most.