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Classroom Technology: A Catch-22

At times it does feel as if technology is a catch-22. There are so many advantages to using technology in our classrooms. However, we are reminded almost daily of the disadvantages that are glaring as well. My personal philosophy regarding the use of technology in education and my responsibility to integrate it in teaching revolves around one word: wisdom. I believe with wisdom and prudence, a professional will garner the positive aspects from technology and minimize (not eliminate)  the negatives. I am taught by scripture that wisdom dwells with prudence and can find out the “knowledge of witty inventions.” (Proverbs 8:12, King James Version) If the educator is not careful, technology can become the trojan horse that defeats our purposes.

The answer, as I have indicated, is not to eliminate or deviate away from technology use. In my experience as a classroom teacher, I have seen its many benefits. It helps with organization by allowing students and teachers to store documents and create collections of work through digital journals. It strengthens our ability to collaborate and communicate with those that we would not and to a degree in which we could not through blogs and comment boards, etc. Technology allows educators to differentiate by way of assigning students projects and assessments that meet their learning styles and needs like never before. My philosophy recognizes the power of technology in achieving my goals of educating our future generations.

As an adult I am entrusted with the safety and wellbeing of children while I am providing an excellent education to them. I believe that part of my responsibility is to educate myself in how to use the best technology and how to best use technology. Proverbs 25:2 states that it is the “honour of kings to search out a matter.” (KJV) Examples of this in application: taking courses in higher education and professional learning courses in technology integration, reading articles that explore how to use technology effectively and safely. By searching out the matter of technology in education, I am arming myself with knowledge that will enable me in finding the best sources and methods. Okojie, Olinzock and Okojie-Boulder puts it this way:

In a broad sense, technology integration can be described as a process of using existing tools, equipment and materials…for the purpose of enhancing learning. It involves managing and coordinating available instructional aids and resources in order to facilitate learning.  It also involves the selection of suitable technology based on the learning needs of students…” 

My philosophy on this matter revolves around the importance of managing and coordinating the tools to improve student learning. It would be irresponsible for me to have a vast toolbox at my disposal and not utilize what has been given to me. Although the process described by Okojie, Olinzock and Okojie-Boulder is vast and laborious, it is vital to providing a world-class education to the students that I serve. My desire is to prepare my students for their brightest future. That will not happen if I am not meeting the needs that they have. An excellent example of this is the fact that my students come from high poverty settings. To that end, my selection of suitable technology integration methods must oftentimes revolve around exposing them to experience and widening their worldview through technology. In this way technology can impact student learning to a great degree. This impact is seen by the fact that its integration has [A] promising characteristic [in] the potential for multisensory stimulation. This may enhance learners’ opportunities for recalling knowledge and for identifying ways of making it relevant to new situations.” (Dohn et al., 2020) The potential for positive growth in teaching and learning is clear, yet we see that with all of the technology we have, student achievement can still suffer. Thus, we are left to understand that technology alone will not solve all of our issues, teach our children or ensure their future success. 

At the same time, managing and coordinating these technological aids also will help prevent the insidious negative nature of either using too much technology or using it in the wrong way. Technology is not the be-all, end-all that we sometimes think of it to be. I am told and believe that there is no substitute for a good teacher. That includes technology. As we live in a society that allows technology to be babysitters and parents for our children, we can begin to allow technology to become school teachers. This is not appropriate as technology should only supplement, not substitute. It is my professional obligation to teach and facilitate knowledge to young people. It is my professional obligation to enhance their education with the correct technological tools. I borrow from Ephesians 6:4 when it tells us to bring up children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (KJV)  In my view, I am needed in the “bringing up” of young minds. This is something that we should not allow technology to do. It cannot do it. 

It is an honor to be allowed to be a part of educating children. The places we will take them far exceeds where they would be without the efforts of educators. In this endeavor, we are blessed to have advanced technological tools to use so that we can do our very best. However, it is of necessity that we are educated, prepared and vigilant so we know how to use these tools correctly and precisely to meet the students’ educational deficits and to advance and promote excellence throughout. 

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