By TJ Fennell, Digital Education Consultant, MindShare Learning
Hello EdTech World! I have finally arrived and it is great to be here. As a new member of the MindShare Learning Team and a new teacher I am excited to connect with other EdTech advocates, to share and learn with members in the education community, and to bring new 21st century pedagogy into my teaching practice. For any new teacher, it should not be our focus to re-invent the wheel as we learn to integrate technology into our classrooms, but to use what has already been created in the foundation blocks of teaching and build upon it. This means learning the fundamentals of teaching, but with 21st century pedagogy as the focus. With this in mind, some experienced teachers may not be excited to embrace these new technological changes in the classroom. Perhaps teachers feel overwhelmed with the wealth of information or of learning something new when their current methods are efficient. However, with each new generation, humans evolve simultaneously with technology. It is our mandate as educators to set children up for success and by integrating technology into the classroom we can meet both curriculum expectations and create a future of digitally-literate, tech-savvy citizens. New teachers: MindShare Learning is your new information source to achieve these goals.
Educational technology is on its way to impacting student success and preparing students for the 21st century in new and interesting ways. However, there are barriers. In talking with a teacher this past week I discovered that the Parent Council purchased projectors for their school due to funding issues. Similarly, another teacher brought to my attention that within the same school board, one school lacked technology, while another school was saturated with it. Educators are the driving force behind whether technology is used in a classroom or not. There are schools where the technology is available, but educators do not have the skills or knowledge to utilize it. Likewise, teachers who may have the skills and knowledge do not have access to the technology. This appears to be an imbalance in the current system and something that may be reformed by educators collaborating. While some of these barriers may be out of our control as teachers, through collaborating in the education community we can attempt to overcome what is in our control. I invite you to follow me, a new teacher, on this journey into the EdTech realm as I discover, network and learn the multifaceted world of 21st century learning.
It was just this past week that I boarded the Twitter-train and, after the initial week of information overload, I realized there was actually a lot of professional development available. Social media is an accessible and convenient way to create awareness about EdTech amongst the education community, to meet educators, to learn from each other, and most importantly, to support each other with ideas and suggestions. MindShare Learning uniquely advocates new teachers collaborating in the education community in order to learn more about EdTech and the ways in which they can incorporate technology into their classrooms as they learn and grow as educators. As we set our students up for success, new and experienced educators must be cognizant of setting themselves up for success as well. One must be willing to learn in order to teach. Social media will be my traveler’s notebook – follow me on Twitter @ teacherteej – and let’s share our ideas and experiences as new teachers in this vast world of EdTech.