When someone asks what does Educational Technology mean to me, I believe Roblyer said it best: "Educational Technology is a combination of the processes and tools involved in addressing educational needs and problems" (Roblyer, pp. 8). I've been an educator for eight years, and in this short amount of time, my philosophy of education has changed multiple times. Of course, there is a reoccurring theme. I always believe that I do things in my classroom for the good of the students. I want my students to feel passionate about school and get the opportunity to learn science topics. It is always my goal to get my students interested in science, so they WANT to pursue it later in life. However, it seems that every year as an educator, there are new requirements put upon us. Along with new requirements, there are new challenges that arise with students learning abilities. Students learning abilities are constantly changing. So, it is my job to handle these new requirements and challenges that arise on an annual basis. The way to do this is through educational technology. By incorporating 21st Century Skills and technology, it gives me the opportunity to expand my students' knowledge of the curriculum AND meet their learning needs.
The current generation, Generation Z, has definitely shown that technology is definitely needed in the classroom. The problem, is that educators are not from Generation Z, so technology is not as welcomed or accepted by many teachers in their classrooms. One of the external barriers is the lack of knowledge of new technology. Many teachers know "how" to use a computer for emails, creating tests/worksheets, and inputting grades, but very few know how useful wikispaces, blogs, online quizlets, and podcasting can add time to teaching the students outside of the classroom. By taking lectures away with podcasting and blogs make it much more actively engaged as well as leave more time for hands on experiences in the classroom!! Not to mention, many educators do not realize other technological resources such as cell phones, iPods and iPads can also be used to enhance curricula and aide with students' learning disabilities. Along with the lack of knowledge of technology is the internal barrier that many schools face is the processes involved with technology. For example, my school district requires students to have technology user agreements. The beginning of every school year seems to be hassel getting students and parents to sign technology agreements, so the students can use the computers!
In my own classroom, I like to describe it as organized chaos. I usually have the students participating in multiple stations and tasks and usually with some time of technological component. According to Michael Wesch video Vision of Students Today (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCJ46vyR9o, 2011), that students really need 26.5 hours a day in order to finish everything. So, students have to learn how to be multi-taskers. Because of this revelation, I've learned that students enjoy to multi-tasking with things that are interesting to them to keep them actively engaged. Technology has really helped me achieve this! By creating podcasts, quizlets, and using iPad apps, I've been able to take a boring topic, such as parts of cell, and make it interesting!
Even though I like to incorporate technology into the majority of my curricula, the most important thing is to NEVER allow it to replace me as the teacher. Throughout the last few months, I've had the opportunity to interview lots of teachers and visit classrooms. I've noticed that many teachers enjoy having computers in the classroom to replace them as the teacher. Teachers will sit at there desk while the computer teaches the students. To me, this is not enhancing the learning, it is just replacing the teacher.