From a ‘Rookie’ to an ‘Expert’
I have only one word to say . . . Thanks! I had the privilege of listening to a presentation from Darren Kuropatwa, who in my opinion, is an expert in the field of Educational Technology. . . this is very obvious!! He is someone that, in a perfect world, all educators would strive to be like. Darren (for those of you who don’t know) is a teacher who teaches a variety of grade 9-12 Mathematics classes integrating the use of technology to amplify student learning. In the eyes of a self-proclaimed ‘rookie blogger / techie’ , he is someone that I learned an awful lot from last night.
Darren took my EC&I 831 class through “A Day in the Life of a Teacher Teaching with Technology”. As a fellow educator (who also teaches mathematics), this presentation was inspirational and provided me the motivation to attempt to take the risks that are necessary to integrate technology into my math classes. Darren’s approach to teaching is one that I am a quite unfamiliar with, and also somewhat scared of . . . USING TECHNOLOGY!! For someone (like myself) who does not know many of the technologies out there (and what they are capable of doing), the integration of technology into the classroom setting is one that can be overwhelming. To, first of all, learn what technologies exist, how to use the technology, and then determine how to include it in your classes must be a time consuming one. But I realize it is just like teaching a class for the first time . . . it takes a lot of time to prepare for but it gets a little easier each time you teach it. I think with today’s student (and society for that matter) and the ever-evolving presence of technology in our day-to-day lives, this effort must be made. For what little amount I have used technology in my classes, I see the benefits students can gain from its use. Darren lives this scenario everyday and his students must benefit!! (Check out an example of a Course Blog Darren currently has for one of his classes and you will see what I am talking about!)
He has incorporated so many of the wonderful technological tools available in today’s world and integrated them into his course to maximize student learning and understanding. From course blogs, to lesson podcasts, he teaches the kind of course that I would like to have had the opportunity to take when I was in school. It is exciting, interactive, flexible, hands-on, and promotes student learning. I have only scratched the surface of what Darren does to enhance student learning through technology. I know many educators have a long way to go to develop classes that remotely resemble the learning environment that Darren has created for his students. But I encourage all of you to consider the possibilities technology can create for students . . . its ability to have a significant impact on student learning.
I think Darren said it best, there are two ways you can teach math . . . one where you tell students a formula, show them how to do the work, and this formula gets planted in their brain . . . for them to pull out the ‘recipe’ of how to do this problem or that question. They understand how to do the question (if they remember the ‘recipe’) but do they truly understand the math? Or the one where you allow them the opportunity to make their own connections and discover (through interaction, discussion, collaboration, . . .) the true meaning of mathematics. Which teacher are you?