My children cannot imagine a life without technology being at their fingertips. Frankly, neither can I at this point. I remember my daughter as a toddler figuring out how to rewind the TIVO to watch her favorite part of a show over and over again. And that was normal in my house. Being that I am older, technology has not always played such a substantial role in my life. My exposure to technology, at least personally, began in the mid 1980’s while I was in intermediate school.
What we did with those computers in intermediate was basic programming. After that, my computer experience was limited to what my parents could afford and what I was exposed to in school (not much!). By the time I got my first laptop, I was about to start my student teaching experience. I used it just as a word processing tool, as there was no real access to internet at this point. Fast forward to the 90’s, where I got my first cell phone and began playing around with using that for communication. By the early 2000’s, we had AOL dial-up internet, I was enjoying chat rooms, and we had begun to purchase one of the many gaming systems we would own in the future. I was still using my flip phone, which I held on to well into 2011. We purchased a laptop and high-speed internet around 2005, and then our world began to change.
Then came the Apple revolution in my home. My husband ordered a first generation IPAD and it was delivered to our door the day they came out. For the 2nd generation, he stood in line at Best Buy. We bought an IPAD mini for a vacation. And we have never really looked back. Ironically, our comfort level with Apple stops at phones and tablets, as we are not very capable at using a Mac computer system.
Fast forward to today. I have 5 computers available for students to use in my classroom. I have a Smartboard. I have 2 Ipods that I won through a grant several years ago. I have added two Kindle Fires that I purchased out of my own money. I use resources such as Nearpod, Pinterest, Kahoot, and You Tube to enhance my content. I am constantly searching for new and interesting ways to do what we have always done in our Kindergarten classroom. My students spend a large portion of their day in stations, where I try to build in technology as much as possible.
Technology has impacted my life, whether I like it or not. My car has a push button start, so I couldn’t go anywhere without technology. I am very dependent on my navigation system, but can still read a map if necessary. I use my cell phone all day, every day to communicate with my family and friends. My kids even text me from their rooms. I use social media to keep up with friends and family, and platforms like You Tube to learn how to do things that I could never imagine doing. When the internet goes out at my house, it can become a very anxious atmosphere almost immediately. I’m not always comfortable with the level of dependence on technology that I have, but I am also not willing to give up the convenience that goes along with it.
The easiest way for me to stay current with technology is through my personal learning network. My network consists of using Twitter, and Nuzzel, to weed out interesting articles written by experts all over the world. I also use Facebook groups to find out about new tools and how teachers are using them in the classroom. I try to stay on top of what is new with ISTE, although I think this is an area I really need to work on more. I have to be aware that this is a necessary part of my professional development if I want to be an effective teacher to my students. Egar (2013) states that we have to use technology as a tool for collaboration and show our students how to use it in their futures. The workplace that our children will have is nothing like the workplace that we have. If we stop fighting this, and stop trying to do things the way we always have, then our students will be better prepared to work in the future.
As of now, I feel like I do much more consuming in my personal learning network than contributing. I do have some videos on my You Tube channel that I have created and I do share my WordPress posts on my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have recently become a Bloomz Ambassador and I hope to stretch myself to do things that I find very uncomfortable, such as webinars, and conference presentations. I am comfortable enough now with the level of knowledge that I have obtained to begin to put myself out there a little bit more.