Hi everyone, my name is Emily Columpsi. I am a fourth year Education student at the University of Regina with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Dance Education. I grew up here in Regina, Saskatchewan where I went to school from kindergarten to now post-secondary education. I am very involved in the Arts, which is why I decided to minor in one of the strands of Arts Education. My parents put me in dance lessons, more particularly ballet and modern, when I was just three years old. As I grew older I became more involved in my studio by joining their pre-professional travelling company for approximately seven years. Being so heavily dedicated to dance meant that I would be training literally fourteen hours a week. So you can imagine what my days were like in elementary and high school: wake-up, go to school, go to dance till eight, come home and do homework, then go to sleep and repeat. This crazy lifestyle really engrained time management, discipline, commitment, dedication, teamwork, and organization within me: attributes that I feel I carry into my teaching. Unfortunately, in second year of University, I had to discontinue from dance because I seriously injured my knees; dislocating my knee caps resulting in a grade four MCL strain. Needless to say, I was very disappointed and upset. However, it is not like I quit cold turkey. At that time I was very thankful that I minored in Dance because then I can still be a part of the dance community even though I was not dancing. As well, during the same time of this incident I was offered a position to teach dance at a local dance studio here in Regina called FadaDance. Obviously I accepted the opportunity. So even though I was injured for a good year I was still connected through my education and through teaching.
I have a very strong interest in visual arts as well. In my spare time I enjoy drawing, sketching, or painting. I feel like this passion and/or interest in visual arts stems from my mother. She was the visual arts teacher for 35 years at one of the Catholic High Schools here in Regina; she even taught me all throughout high school.
Technology was widely available in the schools that I went to here in Regina. However, we did not get as many opportunities to work or experiment with the technology. As a result, my knowledge on how to use certain technological tools is very limited, but also because I am afraid to use most programs that I am not familiar with. I have always been 50/50 when it comes to using technology in the classroom. On one hand, incorporating technology in the classroom makes for an innovative and interactive environment, which can enable many students to thrive and see things differently. In the school that I was at in my internship, they actually encouraged and supported BYOD (bring your own device). During one of my lessons, I actually got the students to use a certain app on their phones (a graphing calculator called Desmos), and it worked out really well. The students were able to punch in the equations themselves and answer the questions individually without waiting for me to do it for them. So in this instance, technology really worked well for both the students and me. On the other hand, students nowadays are so attached to their own personal devices that they take technology for granted. As well, I find cell phones to be a major distraction for some students. The grade twelve’s that I taught would be on their phones for most of the entire lesson!
In the end, I do believe that integrating technology in the classroom is beneficial. For one, it makes students more excited to learn. When technology is integrated into lessons, students are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about the material they are studying. Incorporating technology also enables students to learn at their own pace. In other words, having access to technology allows students to engage with the information at times that are convenient for them and ultimately helps them become for self-directed in the overall learning process. Lastly, I do believe that integrating technology helps prepare students for the future. Our world is changing so rapidly, that by using technology in the classroom students and teachers will develop skills necessary for the 21st century and beyond.
Education is no longer just about memorizing facts and regurgitating these facts, as all our professors tell us in our ECS and EMTH classes. Instead, it is about collaborating with others, developing different forms of communication and leadership skills, and improving student motivation –all that are possible with technology integration.