Sign of the Times: Technology in Education

One of the great things about the Discovery Educator Network is that it’s comprised of educators from all walks of life- educators who have taught for two years all the way to twenty-two years or beyond! As educational trends come and go, it is the educator who must continuously adapt to new innovations. And as technology evolves, so does the world around us. Our students and peers communicate in a number of ways, and thanks to cell phones and faster Internet connections, the world seems to be a smaller place. What was once deemed avant-garde to some is now considered necessary by most. In no other place does that ring true than today’s classroom.

When you walk into a “typical” classroom here in South Carolina, what do you expect to see? What are the tools in today’s classroom that you feel are essential items for teaching and learning in the Palmetto State? For those of you who have been career educators, we would like for you to take that a step further. How is the classroom of today different from the classroom you would have seen 10 years ago? 20 years ago? [GASP!] 30 YEARS AGO?

Defining technology is no easy task. As educators, “cutting edge” classroom technology can vary by state, or perhaps more accurately, by exposure to resources that are available to educators. While a lot of folks have their own idea of what the classroom of the future might look like, it is safe to say that those classrooms will contain educators who will look back at our images today and wonder, “How did they ever get by without –?”

Let’s have some fun! Please take a minute to reflect on your years in education (those years could have taken place in a classroom, library/media center, or behind the desk as an administrator). Take a quick stroll down memory lane…and take us with you! What did your classroom look like as a first year teacher in regards to “technology?” What types of tools did you use with teachers in your library? Which methods of communication did you rely on for your faculty and staff?

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  1. Cathy Nelson said:

    Oh wow 24 years was such a long time ago!! My first classroom was a portable unit (which guaranteed me AC back then in a school where every room did not have it so I felt elated and lucky to be assigned to my little humble abode.) I also remember realizing that “observations” would never be unannounced because gravel and the makeshift stairs porch made a lot of noise, so entering was always well announced with tell-tale crunches in the gravel and then loud steps on the threshold. This was also a blessing for a nervous first year teacher who would be observed and assessed back then with the APT instrument (and I can’t remember what that stood for anymore.) I had a horrendous green chalkboard, but brightened my room with a lot of homemade displays. I distinctively remember my handy frog created form bulletin board paper that sported the phrase “Leap into fifth grade!” My communication devices were notes or phone calls home. I can happily report though that even in my first year, the home computer was put to work as I used Appleworks on an Apple IIe to wordprocess, create a database of student demographics and contact info, and the spreadsheet feature to tally grades for me–even using weighted formulas. I had a couple of teachers who visited often to have their gradebooks set up and then input their grades. I even did a mailmerge then to send home progress reports. LOL I was so cutting bloody edge back then, or so I thought. Good memories all.

  2. Chris Craft said:

    This is my 5th year teaching, so my first year is not chronologically far off, but it feels like a lifetime ago.

    When I first walked into my classroom, I had one teacher computer (a SUPER old Dell 150), a television, and an overhead projector.

    I went in search of more and found much that was not being used. I cobbled together pieces and parts and put together a pretty decent classroom by the end of the year.

    Five years later I have 10 computers for students to use, a SMART board, a set of CPS remotes, a mounted projector, and more. Quite a difference time makes.


  3. Robin Gerzema said:

    I started in a portable 13 years ago. I had three stand alone computers (no Internet or network access). I would have to check out the TV/VCR combo cart from the library (yes then it was a library) and then roll the TV/VCR cart up the ramp to my portable so I could show the snippets from videos. I can say I never lost a TV but that is not the case for some of my colleague! I, too, had the horrendous green chalkboard.

    It wasn’t until two years later when I was moved into a classroom that I had Internet access and would checkout the LCD projector to show the NOAA clips from Ocean Explorer’s site…

  4. Betsy Ruffin said:

    When I started teaching, I used mimeograph machines and 16mm projectors. Now, it is video streaming, web 2.0 tools, and more.

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