I am a pilgrim. My journey has taken me to many exotic places. Five of them have been “Home”. I have assurance of my final destination but the rest of the journey is a wonderful mystery.
Presently, my family and I are living in Middle Earth in the wonderful village of Auckland. I have the blessed privilege of teaching at Elim Christian College – oh yes, I have been called to teach! My title is: the Technology Activator.
“What do technology activators do” you may ask. Before I can answer this question, please allow me to digress. In my experience, teachers are in constant beta (please forgive my geek speak). I have been upgraded more times than I can remember and this year is no exception. So my title is: Technology Activator version 2016 …
Technology activators aim to get everyone, themselves included, excited about the interesting, pedagogically-sound possibilities that digital technology bring to today’s classrooms. Koehler and Mishra1 mention that the challenge with digital technology is that it is constantly changing, it doesn’t always do what you want it to do and you are never sure what exactly it is capable of. They add that it is “neither neutral nor unbiased”. Someone has to lead that conversation …
I teach year 5 to 8 students coding, year 7 and 8 students technology and year 12 students Christian living. In addition, a colleague and I are trying to raise an awareness and correct false perceptions of a misunderstood study area at our school: computer science. I hope to start a radio station for our school and I have been asked to manage the update of our school website. I do not see boredom in my future …
When you visit my classroom, it will most likely be noisy but students are busy “doing things with knowledge”2 – most of the time anyway. I try to cultivate a culture of respect, i.e. respect for myself, my classmates and my teachers – learning seems to thrive in these circumstances. Scardamalia, Bereiter, McLean, Swallow and Woodruff3 have identified a few principles to keep in mind when you use computer technology in teaching and I realise that over the years I have aimed to include these in my classroom. They are “making knowledge-construction activities overt, maintaining attention to learning goals as opposed to other goals of an activity, providing process-relevant feedback, and giving students responsibility for contributing to each other’s learning”.
Now that you know who I am, please let me know who you are, dear reader.
1. Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
2. Gilbert, J. (2005). Cathing the knowledge wave? The knowledge society and the future of education. Wellington: NZCER Press.
3. Scardamalia, M., Bereiter, C., McLean, R. S., Swallow, J., & Woodruff, E. (1989). Computer-supported intentional learning environments. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 5(1), 51-68.