1. Describe and discuss one or two elements from the Bates or Watters chapters that allowed you to think deeper about your past or present teaching.
When our education system had to fully depend on technology to teach due to the pandemic it became quite apparent we were not ready for such a drastic change. Many teachers in the secondary and elementary setting had adopted a blended approach to teaching, but to shift entirely to online was something they never thought they’d do. Although teachers and students are absorbed in their social technologies in their daily life it’s a whole other concept to be teaching and learning through online education. The impact of the Internet in this digital age has caused a paradigm shift in the use of technology in education (Bates, 2015). As students are now growing up with technology at their fingertips it only makes sense their education would mirror that. You also need to know your students. In an elementary setting my students might go home every night and play Fortnite, but those skills don’t necessarily transfer over to the use of a computer to make a Google slide presentation. This has been something of interest to me. I use Google Apps for Education and I am always stunned when students have trouble simply logging on to their account. Their world is fully immersed in tech, they love it and can’t wait until we have the iPads or Chromebooks. I’d like to become more aware of how I can better help my students utilize what is around them. Gone are the days of the teacher being the expert, I want to bring my students into this digital age knowing how to get all the benefits out of using technology.
Another issue that got me thinking was Audrey Watters’ questions about if the goal is to have teachers become more automated and mechanical and the machines more human (Watters, 2014). If teachers are to become more standardized in their teaching then wouldn’t they become just like machines, pumping out grades. That doesn’t sound like a great atmosphere to teach or learn in. Whenever you use a piece of technology in the classroom there has to be a purpose and goal for the students in order for it to be effective. It’s interesting thinking about what we are using technology for and why is it being brought into the classroom. This has definitely got me thinking about my reason for using technology in my classroom. It should not be a stand along occurrence, but weaved into my teaching.
As Bates suggests, fully online learning is best suited to more mature, self-motivated students who have families and are working. In the context of secondary and elementary education I believe the best is face-to-face instruction with technology integrated in.