Emily Columpsi

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery" -Mark Van Doren

Technology as an Innovation

Last night, in my ECMP 455 class, we discussed the concept of “living and learning in the digital age.” Basically, how can we live and learn with technology in ways that add authentic value to our lives and to the world. We explored and discussed the evolution of technology as an innovation and as an increase in complexity. Ultimately, one of the major points that I took away from last night’s class is not only how far technology has come, but that technology continues to push educational capabilities to new levels. In looking at where educational methods and tools have come from to where they are possibly going in the future, technology’s importance in the classroom is evident now more than ever.

It is amazing to see how far technology has come: it is evolving at a high-speed, but almost dangerously fast, pace. Everyday we learn about new web tools, apps, and devices that make our society that much more complex and innovative. This development and increasing access to many different technological devices, especially the Internet, makes us a part of something called the participatory culture, as discussed last night. Ultimately, people are able to work collaboratively, generate news, connect, consume, create, remix and share in many ways. We have been able to mix and remix things that we never were able to before. Eric Whitacr’s Virtual Choir is a perfect example of connecting, creating and sharing. This connection between people is awe inspiring and majestic. Eric says in his TED talk “individual souls, each on his/her own private island, sending messages in a bottle to each other.” No words can describe this really, just watch.

This TedTalk is another example of this participatory culture that we are all becoming a part of.

His last few statements really resonate with me, “this went from being a joke to something that we can all be a part of because we do not just enjoy now, we participate” (5:10).  By participating in someone else’s idea or creation we feel a strong sense of social connection. It ignites a fire within to know that we have shared and connected with millions across the world.

With this found participatory culture; the question is how do we take these engaging tools and bring them into the classroom? Technology is certainly driving the way teachers teach and students learn as technology is already integrated in nearly everything we do. Teachers nowadays have unlimited access to new and improved educational apps, SMARTborads, Mimios, tablets, Smartphone’s, and coming from a mathematical point of view, graphing calculators, mathematical web programs and games. Technology ultimately enhances teacher instruction and deepens student learning as the communication and connections can continue outside the classroom. Furthermore, technology is centered primarily on collaboration and sharing, which encourages student interactions with peers and more opportunities for authentic learning experiences. It is ultimately about building rich connections. That being said, technology continues to push educational capabilities to new levels the more and more advanced it becomes. As a result, as I said before, it is more evident that we integrate technology into our classrooms to enable rich learning opportunities and connections with other students whether in or out of the classroom. What are your thoughts? How do you think teachers can bring these engaging tools into the classroom? For me it is easily to state why we should, but I am still struggling with the how as I am still learning about technology and all its advancements.

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