Saturday, March 5, 2016
What Makes Me Tech
Any given day, I have more devices in my bag than I probably need. The right tool for the job, I suppose. Chromebook, laptop, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Kindle...a combination of school-provided and personal investments. No wonder my bag is always so heavy!
Most teachers in my building probably think I use technology so extensively because I have all kinds of time on my hands. Admittedly, I don't have children, so I'm sure that results in much more "free time" outside of school than the average teacher.
The truth is, I use tech because I don't have time NOT to use it. In addition to teaching six different classes, I also have the paperwork, meetings, mentoring, and parent contacts involved with having a Special Education caseload. If I'm not careful, all of this can take over my life outside of school just to keep up. Early on in my career, I decided to work smarter, not harder. This is why I tech.
If I record a lesson, it is there for future use. If I create a digital activity (even one that can be printed), I can have one student or 40 students use it each year. When technology automatically differentiates student math homework, the students benefit and I spend less time grading individual assignments. I don't have to worry about which device I carry home because all of my files will still be at my fingertips. This is why I tech.
When my classroom computer slowed down and became unreliable, I purchased a 25-foot HDMI cable and bypassed it altogether. If there's anything I don't have time for, it's wasted time when something doesn't work properly. With the HDMI cable, I am able to connect either my laptop or chromebook to my projector and even have an ipevo document camera (connected via either device) for the times I need to show something on the board that I don't have available digitally. For example) Last week, I dislocated my wrist and was not able to write on the board. I had a graphic organizer and card sort activity prepared, but I was able to project from my document camera using my activity keys (uncovering sections as we went). This is why I tech.
My Sub Plans are in a Google document. I keep it updated as my rosters change and also post a message in Google Classroom to create consistency for my students. Of course, I haven't used a single sick day this school year, but this has also come in handy when missing for PD. Next time I'm sick, instead of agonizing over plans while not feeling well, I can send my plans to the high school workroom copier from the comfort of my home with just a few clicks. These plans as well as my Emergency Sub Plans are shared with key staff and team teachers so any one of them can access and edit if for some reason I am not able to. This is why I tech.
For me, technology is an important tool in my toolbox. Do I use it every day? Yes, but sometimes only for attendance, email, grades. Do my students use it every day in my class? No. And that's more than ok.
I enjoy learning new ways to use technology in the classroom. It's part of what makes me who I am. This is what makes me tick. This is what makes me tech.
This post is my semi-continuation/follow-up to the #satchatwc conversation on Time today hosted by Grant Lichtman (@GrantLichtman). Join #satchatwc Saturday Chat West Coast (and CST peeps who like to sleep in) Saturdays at 7:30AM PST moderated by Shelley Burgess @burgess_shelley