My love for teaching and learning became evident at a young age. When I was 5 years old I knew I was going to become a teacher. I’d make worksheets for my younger sister, who couldn’t have been barely 3 at the time, and insist she participate in my class. I remember her growing older and eventually asking when SHE could be the teacher. I recollect not taking too fondly to such a notion. There was no taking turns here. I was the teacher. I have to laugh at how adamant I was about that. But the truth is, my passion for education is one that I carry with me to this day. Forty years later, I know in my heart, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.
I graduated high school in 1989 and started college at the University of Hawaii at Hilo immediately there after. My era was one riddled with large drawer card catalogues and microfilm and microfiche reels with which to conduct research. I took notes with my trusty pen on my sleek, white, college ruled binder paper. Books were bound and I could hold them in my hands, and flip through the pages, inhaling their musty scent as I was enveloped by the age and wisdom they imparted. These were the days.
But of course, as a life long learner, in the age of technology, I realized I must keep up with the times. Cell phones, ipods, ipads- I initially feared the great unknown, realizing that If I didn’t change with the times, I’d be the only person in history with a flip phone and the inability to text message my children who claim they DID let me know they were going to be late. Didn’t you get my text mom? Ummm, your what?
I will admit. I like to learn the old fashion way. With a good book in my hands, a piece of paper to write on, my favorite ball point pen to mark the way. But I am becoming more and more excited for what technology holds for my future and the future of my students. It’s funny, because my initial reaction to technological advances is always hesitant, but once I learn, I feel passionately invigorated with excitement for my new skill. I am learning how to use Google Docs, Google slides, hyperlink sites into my documents, and now I sit before you creating my very first blog. Technology is actually pretty cool! In my classroom, I am gaining confidence with Apple TV and although my old bent neck overhead projector sits in the corner of the classroom, collecting dust and wondering what happened to seal its terrible fate, I move into the realm of new tricks of the trade, and couldn’t be more excited.
In this class, I look forward to learning more in terms of taking those next steps. I want to learn and grow not only in my own abilities but have the capacity to take my newfound knowledge to the classroom, so that my students will also benefit from this class as well. A great article I recently read spoke of the many ways that technology benefits students in the classroom http://www.teachhub.com/benefits-technology-classroom. It’s exciting to think of the future possibilities that lie ahead. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t still love combing the aisles of a bookstore, or going up and down the fiction section of a library, as this type of learning will always be my first love. But I can see where the Kindle could be an amazing addition to my repertoire as well. Maybe there’s room for it all.
Up until now, my professional learning network has been my colleagues and team mates at school. Other than the occasional Youtube video or educational meme from Facebook , my networks have mostly been, in a professional sense, face to face. I must say, I am so inspired by this new network of cohort members I now have through the screen of my computer. My professional horizons have taken on new reaches. I have already experienced the gracious help and guidance in my first two courses this summer. This opportunity to experience community based learning really helps me share my strengths with others, and find comfort in areas I lack in, knowing through peer collaboration, there is nothing that can’t be done. This is collective empowerment at its best, when we can all work together to inspire, uplift and teach one another from the far corners of the globe.
Of course, my personal networks have included technology for a long time now. Originally I balked at the notion of making Internet “friends” but quickly realized how much I enjoy reaching out to those far and wide in ways I never had before. Admittedly, Facebook became an addiction for some time, especially when it was new, or rather I was new to it.
I enjoy having the world at my fingertips, something only technology can provide. Now I wonder, what I did without the Internet? How did I get by without Siri or Google Maps to light the way? This becomes the new age “I had to walk home from school up hill, both ways, in the snow” speech we give kids who will never know what life was like before instant gratification, and the challenges of combing through encyclopedia sets to find out the answers to burning questions. It’s funny how times have changed, but I’m happy to be a part of that change, and excited for what the future holds with respect to technology and growth for me as a learner. So, yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Come to think of it, loading up that microfiche reel was never a piece of cake anyway. I am ready to learn, expand and grow!