In a rapidly changing world, technology and education have become close friends that often misunderstand each other. As educators we want our students to be successful and productive members of society. Technology can often be very useful and expand our teaching world, but it can also hold some unexpected results. After attending the NMTIE conference of 2019, I have a better grasp of how we as educators can embrace and work better with our friend, technology.
Following a charismatic keynote from Jamie Cassup, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, I was left thinking, “Do we give our students enough opportunity to explore, are we steering them towards a future that won't exist, and how can we better meet their needs for the future?” Cassup’s keynote touched on aspects of student achievement and measurement that I found impactful. He pointed out that we give students letter grades, assessing their level of understanding when we as adults, do not get a letter grade at work that reflects our performance. We work with our superiors and colleagues until we have created an “A+” project. As adults we revise and evaluate until we achieve the best work we can create. Cassup drove home a perspective that it is currently unknown what jobs will be available to our students in the future which makes it difficult to prepare them for, but, what we do know is that technology is rapidly advancing and we need to move students towards problem solving and critical thinking. Many jobs are becoming obsolete as we replace them with technology. Now more than ever, students need to be innovating and pushing past general education. Technology won't be slowing down anytime soon and we have already been outpaced by it.
The ideas of technology surpassing what we had imagined brings me to student safety. I have begun to reflect on conversations I had with fellow conference-goers and our concerns about student safety. Most students spend an enormous amount of time online. This happens at home, school, on the bus, at the market, day, and night. We cannot protect students all the time, but we have a duty to at school. We can start by providing digital citizenship lessons and teaching our students how to use the internet and devices. Safety is our responsibility, and as educators we need to be vetting the programs and applications that we are using in the classroom. Educators should actually be looking at those tricky terms of service and get parent permission for those apps that require it. It is critical that we are employing apps that are truly educational and appropriate. I am looking forward to seeing what my team can do for the teachers in this aspect by reviewing and evaluating apps and programs so that teachers can be sure they are following COPA, CIPPA, and FERPA guidelines in their classroom and protecting their own and student information.
I hope that as we continue to grow as a district and as educators in general that we continue to consider the impact of technology. Technology will continue to be a part of our lives and our students' lives. It is difficult to imagine the future but together, working with educators across the state, we can work to provide new opportunities for student growth.