Thinking outside the box

As an educator of children with special needs, I use technology all the time.  Technology has opened a window of communication that would never have existed otherwise.  Many of my students are non-verbal and use communication devices through the use of Ipads, computer programs, and other electronic devices.  Technology assists my students in speech, academics and for some, mobility.  Most schools, if not all, use Ipads in the classrooms. Often students are better with technology than their teachers.

For some teachers, technology is a scary thing.  For all teachers now it is a necessity.  It is important not only in teaching.  It is important in the process of being hired to show a portfolio built online.  Most, if not all, grading and data collecting done by teachers is done through online programs.  Technology is part of our advancing society and education plays a large role in our society.

One thing I appreciate about technology is how easy it is to store and share ideas among peers, colleagues, students, family and friends.  For example, I have spend my summer working with Summer Reads, an Americorp program connected with Minnesota Literacy Council.  I tutor children through the public schools to read.  I create and put into practice lesson plans.  Through the use of several teaching websites, blogs and Pinterest, I have become a much more effective teacher.  This is through a network of shared ideas.

As an educator, I believe I can either become comfortable with technology or intimidated.  My students have grown up in an age of technology much more advanced than the one I grew up in.  I remember when it was cool to have a camera on your phone.  I can either embrace that or fight it.  Cell phones are not going away in classrooms.  Why not use them to teach?  Social networking is used more than the phone to communicate.  Is there a way to incorporate that?  Students love video games.  How can I use them to teach?  Good teaching is thinking outside the box sometimes.

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