Earlier this year, I applied to be a one of our school board’s Tech Champions, and I am so glad to be a part of this dynamic group. Kudos to Stacey Wallwin, who facilitates the learning activities, organizes our meetings and presents us with opportunities to share with others. (I’m not sure how she manages it all so well!)
Above all else, I have noticed a shift in attitudes toward technology-enabled learning and teaching. When the focus of our practice does not dwell on technology for technology’s sake, excitement builds because of the real opportunities that are presented to us in our learning environments.
On the weekend of April 16th & 17th, I attended the first-ever #gafesummit in Thunder Bay along with my fellow tech champs and other people who also volunteered their time. What a whirlwind of intense learning together!
I think it’s important to consider what opportunities can offer to us. For someone like me, attending a #gafesummit is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve enjoyed using technology for about five years, especially because I have found a way to share my voice and connect with others. My students have also been presented with various opportunities and tools that have enabled them to learn and create in new ways. I hesitate to use a word as dramatic as empowerment, but I can’t deny some of the mind-blowing experiences in our classroom. Take a look at just one digital portfolio.
*The picture below provides a link to a wonderful story (or Storify) created by Dave Binette — I loved reading through his experiences at the #gafesummit, but even more, I was excited to see that he is finding ways to use technology to enhance his teaching and learning.
The thing is, everyone isn’t like me, or even like my #sgdsbtc friends. Some people may not feel like they want to use technology in their class because it isn’t their thing. How can we support people who haven’t been provided with the opportunities they need to move forward?
Some people openly state that “isolation is a choice”, when speaking of educators who don’t embrace technology. I don’t agree. It isn’t as simple as this.
I don’t have the answers but I think that, by examining the questions together, we have a way to move forward. At the very least, open and transparent conversations might provide an invitation for all educators to discuss possibilities for new learning together.