Learning, as we all know, is a lifelong process- one that is dependent on a wide variety of factors, including, but not limited to: location, culture, and the numerous methods of teaching.
The word philosophy refers to one’s perspective or approach regarding a certain facet of the world, and it too is shaped by a colorful assortment of factors. Culture, in having the greatest impact on one’s philosophy, is perhaps the most eminent factor.
During my formative years, I was taught in a very traditional fashion, which is teacher will stand at the front of the class and use the chalk and backboard to teach us math, science, language in a direct and often single-minded manner. A dynamic approach to teaching that made use different mediums was a technique as yet unheard of. Students had to listen to the teacher’s instructions and follow the direction explicitly. Textbooks, notebooks, pencils, etc., were essential requirements that each student needed for daily lessons.
Today, the tools needed for learning have become much more diverse. The classroom environment has evolved to include computers, smart board, digital calculator, projector, and even iPads, among others. Digital devices have become an integral part of one’s learning environment, both within the classroom and beyond.
As both a digital immigrant and now a technology teacher, it is important that I am constantly connected with digital world, up to date with the latest technologies and how they’re used and in tune with their constant development. It is my personal belief that technology is a shapeless entity, constantly shifting and evolving, and we, as teachers have a duty to keep up with the pace in order to be effective.
My personal philosophy regarding learning has been shaped throughout the years by my previous career. Originally coming from a computer engineering background, I have been involved in the education field for about 5 years. My previous career path endowed me with the experience of being patient in troubleshooting issues related to computer repairs, application problems, and also in the methods of teaching and training fledgling computer users. Changing my career and becoming an official computer teacher has given me the chance to transfer my previous experience and share it with others at the schools I work for.
Learning is a two-way road. Though I teach students, and they learn from me, I also learn from them. I like to open conversations with my students as well as my colleagues. Genial conversation will inevitably lead to meaningful discussion.
I also believe being allowed to choose how to learn will foster student engagement and motivation. Freedom of choice enables student empowerment, which will incite a positive response from the students. In addition, I often look for different professional developments related to how technology maybe responsibly integrated and taught at K-12 schools to enhance my students’ learning experien
Interesting article Egbal! You touched on this a little bit at the very end, but I think this raises some questions regarding professional development as well, as teachers (who, as you mention, were generally educated without all the technology available today) also need to be digital learners. How can teachers not be at a disadvantage when it comes to using technology in the classroom unless they are provided with the same type of training that we need to give our students?
Thanks for reading my post. I agree with you that teachers need to have decent trainings that can help them to be equipped with what will make them 21st century teachers. From my experience, and note that I’m a part of digital immigrant generation, I think willingness is the main factor that could makes these trainings happen. We can have many different training sessions on how to integrate technology and how to use different online tools in education, but if the teachers don’t make time to educate themselves about these different technologies and how they could incorporate them in their lessons, all the training would be useless. For the generation of today, we need to have the type of teachers that are always trying to find a better way of improving their practices and finding ways that will engage students and make them achieve better learning outcomes.
Hello Egbal. You made interesting points about the importance of technology in education. It helps bridge gaps in learning and teaching. We have come a long way from paper and pencil days of teaching. It is important for educators to continue their own education as life long learners; especially in technology. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us.
You are right; Educators need to be digitally competent. It is not even a choice anymore. Schools, homes and students are becoming almost dependent on technology to be able to communicate but also to enhance their daily tasks. It is, as you say, inevitable. Long gone are the times when the teacher was the primary source of input. Technology has made it so that learners have become much more self-sufficient. The 21st century has brought teaching and learning to a new direction. It is up to us to "keep up" with it and to learn the skills needed to succeed as teachers & learners.
I strongly agree with your comment that "freedom of choice enables student empowerment". In my work with special needs students and specifically with high functioning Autistic students the freedom of choice can sometimes make all the difference. When the choice includes a technology option, it often means the difference between an assignment being done and not being done. With all the teaching videos now available online, the challenge of convincing highly distractible students to listen and to learn dissipates. The motivation to retain information increases exponentially. I also strongly agree with the comment that we must keep up with the technology as teachers. I believe parents must do the same. The easy access to technology has made learning so much more accessible especially to special needs students, but it has also expanded the possibilities for students to get into trouble. We need to protect them and teach them to use all technology responsibly, inside and outside the classroom.