I am a high school English teacher and I have taught in southern Maine since 2000. I’ve always been a bit of a tech nerd, so I love finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom. No matter how much you love to integrate technology into your classroom, it can be difficult to find time to search for and evaluate resources…over the years I found myself spending a lot of time just sifting through the millions of online resources to find the hidden gems worth using. Another challenge is keeping track of all the great stuff I find on the web. From year to year I find myself misplacing bookmarks and even forgetting about useful resources only to stumble across them later, after I already covered the subject with my students that year.
So I decided I need to start collecting, organizing, and sharing all of the great stuff I can find on the web for integrating technology into the language arts classroom. Thus Interactive Language Arts was born at the beginning of this 2010 school year. I have committed to posting at least weekly for now, and I hope to see the blog grow in depth and scope with time. I hope you will consider subscribing to my blog and thus help grow its readership. Please tell your colleagues and friends about it too.
Another thing that keeps me very busy is that I am a graduate student at Northern Arizona University (the online division) where I am completing a Master’s Degree in English with emphasis in literacy, technology, and professional writing. The classes I’ve taken toward earning my degree have enlightened me to the many ways technology and media are changing education (and at a rapid pace). Specifically, our students are coming to the classroom with a very different set of needs and expectations than they came with even a few years ago. Teaching this new generation of students requires teachers and educators to rethink the traditional classroom.
Using computers and the internet in the classroom is no longer just a cool idea but a necessary one and integrating these tools requires thoughtful planning and meaningful implementation. Integrating technology into the classroom is about more than students writing and researching on computers. It’s about equipping students with a wide variety of visual and technology literacy tools. Because technology is such an integral part of their lives, we sometimes make dangerous, false assumptions about how technologically literate our students really are. We see them chatting on Facebook, texting on their iPhones, and gaming on the Xbox, and we assume they “know computers.” However, we need to equip students to not only use technology but to problem solve with it and, perhaps more importantly, to think critically about its many uses and applications–educational, political, commercial, and private.
I believe we are at a crucial moment in education when we must choose if we will embrace this opportunity to grow with the world of technology and its far-reaching networks or to remain in place and become stagnant in our traditional ways. I believe the lecturing days of the “sage on the stage” are largely over. I intend to embrace these changes, to grow, and to adapt. I hope you will too.