This week's topic of technology in education and social networking is absolutely fascinating to me. The ability for educators to communicate with colleagues and students from any location and at anytime leads to endless possibilities.
In the Social Networking article by Weaver and Morrison, it stated, "People have always been social creatures; our ability to work together in groups, creating value that is greater than the sum of its parts, is one of our greatest assets." From the days of writing to our pen pals students have always been curious of how others live. With our current technology, we no longer have to wait weeks or months for a response, the response can now be immediate through blogs. Authors can communicate with their readers via podcast. Students who are absent from school can still be part of class through vodcasts. All of this technology allows the diversity of our groups in and out of our classrooms to expand exponentially.
As educators, we must realize that when it comes to technology we, as an older generation, must be current on the benefits and uses of technology if we wish to be most effective in the classroom. According to the "Examining Social Software in teacher Education" editorial, "It is crucial that the educational technology and teacher education community understand how these tools can be, and our being used." For example, I can put my lectures on Podcasts for absent students versus telling them to get notes from a friend. Physically disabled students will no longer be dependant on aids taking their notes. Parents can be better informed of what is currently happening in their child's class by posting questions on blogs or visiting teacher websites. Even the most basic internet based websites for grades allow parents and students to monitor their progress on a day to day basis.
The greatest gift we can give the students in our classrooms or the children in our homes is the example of a life long learner. Our current technology allows us to complete degrees online without leaving our desk our the comfort of our own home. In the "Emerging Technologies Changing Public Library Service Delivery Models", we realize that we live in a society that no longer worries about time zones or political boundaries when it comes to educational opportunities. "New technologies allow them to provide a better service to users by offering simple access to what they want,, when they want it and how they want it."
Ultimately as a teacher my job is to ensure that I am meeting the needs of my students. Today's generation has been raised with a much higher standard of technology from that of my generation. They communicate differently, they learn differently. I cannot provide the best opportunities for my students to learn if I am not teaching to their strengths and learning styles.