Sunday, January 8, 2017

More technology-thrilling or daunting?

As a teacher in a school that moves its Chrome carts around,  it can be thrilling and daunting to learn that even more Chrome carts have been ordered. Thrilling to know it will all be so much easier to manage and daunting to know that what is somewhat easy now just became somewhat more difficult.

Receiving nine more Chrome carts for a school of 750 is thrilling, right? Our 6-12 ELA department shares currently two carts between six teachers and sixteen classes. Adding one more cart to the department is thrilling. This means that only two teachers will share a cart. This will help our Middle School department. Currently, each teacher uses the cart for lab hours only. ELA classes have 2-3 hours each week for intervention and enrichment using Thinkcerca, Quizlet and NoRedInk.  With the additional cart, two of our MS teachers will share a cart, rather than three. The additional carts will enable our full school to be able to complete our mandated testing in one week.

     So what could be daunting about gaining more Chrome Carts? As our access to technology extends to beyond our lab hours, this opens up the opportunity to implement even more technology. Using more technology will thrill teachers and students. Timed online writing becomes easier to manage. Implementing  the ACT Aspire Classroom Periodic becomes easier to manage. But, it is daunting. Daunting to remember that technology does not teach the curriculum. Yes,  Facebook/Summit Learning is one  personalized learning platform that teaches and and helps assess students on their learning. Our AP English students are using this platform this year to try it out for the district. But, all other English classes are still using our district curriculum largely based on Pearson Common Core 2015. There are many wonderful uses of technology contained in Pearson like access to our online textbook, workbooks, videos, and assessments! However, it is possible that teachers will spend more time on extra technology enabled assignments and less on our created curriculum. 

     I trust our teachers. Our teachers know the importance of our results on the state mandated ACT Aspire. The 2016 results helped purchase the new Chrome carts. As we anticipate the new Chrome Carts, we must keep in mind Psychologist Tanya Byron's words, "The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, that is transformative.”

Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed.
District Director of Professional development, AP English teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist.