Technology has always appealed to me, though as the online world has grown, so has my love of and use for it. After becoming a teacher, I find even MORE ways to use tech tools every day, to help me and to help those with whom I work. That means other teachers, my administrators, my students, and their parents. The whole community. One great advantage I have personally experienced is:
While many will bemoan the distance that technology puts between us and our immediate environment, technology can also act as a way to connect us in new and profound ways. Not just in sending routine emails, or reminders. In how we all connect. Dropping my student a quick email has certainly had its benefits–after sending a quick appeal to a failing student, I got an equally quick response: assignments turned in that brought his grade up to passing. But more than that, technology allows students and teachers to collaborate better. The last school I worked for asked that teachers routine submit lesson plans to administration. After training us all on Google Drive (a welcome update from printed plans neatly bound in folders), we found efficient new ways to keep our department heads, principals, and others informed of what was going on in our classroom. Content experts could give feedback, offer suggestions, even providing links, or a simple “drop by my office for a great resource on graphic organizers“. Instead of endless folders on someone’s desk that require organization, and that oh-so-precious commodity of office space, Google Drive allows everyone to collaborate more efficiently.
It also helps my students to collaborate better. Living in a big city where traffic is gnarly at any hour, the opportunity to do group work from the comfort of each student’s bedroom is a HUGE plus! No more coordinating schedules, pick up and drop off times for parents, etc is SO convenient.
Google Sheets and Forms was useful in giving routine feedback at our school. Twice yearly students would evaluate each of their teachers individually, based on specific criteria. And twice yearly, teachers would evaluate coordinators/principals. Everyone met with their respective supervisors to go over the results, which was an easy way to open discussion about what could be improved, and what we were doing well.