Lately I have been making a list of all the ways I use technology in my classes. It came up in an odd conversation, which is just the type of scenario that sends me writing about whatever the issues at hand are. I by no means consider myself super techy, or super geeky. I do such old school things as teaching cursive handwriting and sentence diagrams; I frequently start literature discussions by having my students quick write about a theme – you get the idea: inkwells.
There are many people still doubtful about the ability of technology to facilitate learning that will last, or the right learning that will last. I use technology and the internet to download speeches and interviews from NPR; to show relevant geography and history as background to novels; to research the lives of authors; to provide references for grammar and MLA formatting; to have my students compile collaborative presentations: keystrokes.
Recently though, I have been lured into conversations about gaming and learning. Hmm, no way I was interested. But then I found no less a source than the Nobel Prize folks and the United Nations. They had my attention with their games that truly engage students (I used the Lord of the Flies game from Nobel and it got a great response from students) and build problem solving skills.
As teachers, I believe we need to be open to new ideas, not automaticaly closed. We have to evaluate new “toys” as we balance time necessary v. benefits. For their efforts, I give Nobel and the UN solid A’s.