I am a digital native. I grew up in a family that always had the newest technology we could afford and with close friends who were always going to go into the IT field. I learnt a lot about technology as a kid from a friend who was always pulling apart computers and putting them back together again. This was a great base to build on as I got older and continued to learn more about technology. I chose ICT as a subject in VCE and always had an interest in new tools and gadgets. Being a digital native has made it really easy for me to integrate new technologies into my classroom. I find it easy to try out new tools and am now in the lead role of ICT and contemporary learning in my school.
As much as I love technology and get excited by all the new programs and web2.0 tools I can use with my students I know that pedagogy will always come first. It is important that technology is used to support the curriculum and not just for the sake of it. Every time I use a tool or gadget I think to myself “Is this tool going to help my students learn?” If the answer is yes then I go with it and try to get the most out of the tools we are using. There are so many tools that are beneficial to teaching the curriculum and help students become deeper thinkers. I think if we use these tools thoughtfully and state the purpose before using them, then they are a great way to engage students. Being part of the PLN program has confirmed for me how important it is to stay on top of new technologies and that they need to be used with student learning at the centre.
I have started blogging this year and have found it to be one of the most valuable things I have done this year. It challenges my students to think about the purpose and audience of their work and allows them to receive feedback that would never be possible without the blog. It also acts as a place to store our learning. We regularly check our blog and make new posts. My students ask all the time to go back and look at older posts. This allows us to reflect on our learning all the time. We make connections between things we have done in the past and things we are doing now. My students go home and share their learning with their families and their families have the opportunity to comment and connect with our class. I can’t express enough how valuable blogging has been for me. Something that started as a tool I thought would enhance learning that I would use every now and again has become an integral part of my teaching.