In the old days (4 years ago) I was the Tech Contact for a Middle School but ended up transfering to an Elementary classroom. The biggest reason was because it was becoming frustrating trying to keep up with all the changes in technology. We started out with Apple IIe’s and by the time I left six years later we had labs full of Windows XP computers running off a Novell network and there were moves on to go wireless with 801g and on an on it went.
That is the thing about technology. It changes so rapidly. Here we are, just a little over a month into the launch of this site and already I am having to re-evaluate a lot of things. The biggest, of course, has to be the release by Google of two things, first is the upgrade where by clicking on a placename you get a nifty selection of search choices, the second, bigger one is the release this past week of a free version of SketchUp. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is FANTASTIC! A Geometry teacher’s dream!
I have always been a big believer in free stuff. Being a teacher I suppose it comes with the territory. One of the first professional development books I ever bought when I started in the classroom was the ‘Free Stuff for Teachers’ series. At the beginning of this school year (August ‘05) I was given a brand new computer lab to teach in, but the only software that came with it was Microsoft Office and I had to teach K-5 in the lab on a daily basis. It wasn’t a problem, thanks to free and Open Source software. Things like G-Compris for the little kids to teach mouse skills to Gimp for the older kids to teach about bitmap graphics along with the wonderful world of the internet (Starfall.com comes to mind) made teaching technology a breeze.
That is partly why I was so taken with Google Earth, and now SketchUp. It allows students to learn the tools of technology hand in hand with the core curriculum of a regular classroom all without spending a dime on software!
But it is still tough keeping up with the technology, even when you are focusing on a single application. Who knows what they will come up with next month! No wonder most of the classroom teachers I work with shrug their shoulders when we discuss increasing their use of technology in their classrooms. If I am overwhelmed as a techno-junkie, it must seem truly befuddling to the ‘email & word processing’ crowd.
The amazing thing with technology in the classroom is that it is not ‘the more things change, the more things stay the same’ it is the more things change, the more things keep changing.
I’ll try to keep up…