My Self-Assessment as a Digital Leader
To know where you are, you must know where you’ve been and where you want to go. This can apply to many different aspects of a person’s life. As an educator, I feel I have come a long way in a short amount of time. My goals and aspirations for the future make me sure that I still have a long way to go.
About six years ago, I was fresh out of college and searching for a teaching job. I was an educational aide at an elementary school while finishing my degree. I loved my job. I applied and interviewed at the elementary school I was currently working for to be a third grade teacher. When the job was awarded to someone else, I was devastated. I looked for two more months before I got a call in July from the assistant principal from the elementary school. She explained to me that there had been a brand new position created for each elementary school in our district and wanted to offer me the position first. Without even knowing what the position was, I said, “I’ll take it!” I was going to be the Technology Applications Teacher at Fannin Elementary School. I was ecstatic! I had no idea what I was going to do, but I was ecstatic! I worked for the next month and a half with just the Technology Applications TEKS to create a very basic guideline for the year ahead. I had so much fun getting to create lessons and find resources for the children I was going to teach.
Within the next two years, our district purchased a license to www.learning.com. At first, I was thrilled. All of my kids would be learning the same concepts, and I could assess where they were at the end of each assigned unit. There would still be time for the lessons I had created. There was time but not much. I soon found out that I enjoyed creating lessons that had the kids using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to show their understanding of different technological concepts rather than an interactive video lesson that asked them to click on the correct answer.
While preparing for this school year, I thought a lot about how digital learning has changed and how it affects the children at Fannin. I thought about how just my class alone can change the way students can learn. Our district still continues to purchase licenses to www.learning.com, but I don’t use it as much for the older grade levels. There is too much being taken away from them when they are not able to be the facilitators of their own learning. My plans from last school year and my plans for the next school year did and will include more student centered technology to create different types of files to be shared with their teachers and their peers. It amazes me how creative every child can be when left with very general instructions. They want to show off their style in everything that they do. In 2013, Steinberg states that “Digital learning offers an unprecedented ability to provide educational experiences that are tailor-made for each student.” Students don’t have to fit in a box when creating a PowerPoint or video; they have the ability to show off what they’ve learned in a way that’s suitable for them.
Professionally, I have been attending TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) conferences for the last 4 years. Being able to go to both the week long TCEA Convention and Exposition and the two day TCEA Tots & Technology Convention multiple times has provided me with a number of resources that I can share with other teachers on my campus and in my district. It has also given me the opportunity to use those resources with my students. They love using websites and programs that they have never had the opportunity to use before.
Szczerba quotes Alan Kay, a computer scientist, “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” Technology is constantly changing, upgrading, and developing. As a digital educator, I must also constantly change, upgrade, and develop. If I don’t, I’ll be considered for trade in or recycle. Wakefield quotes Marc Prensky when writing about the future of technology in schools, “…a whole new core of subjects is needed, focusing on the skills that will equip today’s learner for tomorrow’s world of work. These include problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration.” The common phrase “teaching to the test” will not hold true in a society that needs to advance socially and economically. Students and teachers will have to embrace the technological revolution that is happening around the world.
Steinberg, Scott. (2013). Technology for Schools and Teachers: 5 Reasons Digital Learning Matters. Huff Post Tech. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-steinberg/technology-for-schools-an_b_2805201.html.
Szczerba, Robert J. (2015). 20 Great Technology Quotes To Inspire, Amaze, and Amuse. Forbes/Tech. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertszczerba/2015/02/09/20-great-technology-quotes-to-inspire-amaze-and-amuse.
Wakefield, Jane. (2015). Technology in schools: Future changes in classrooms. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30814302.