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Contributors: Cindy Hughes, Kellie Grant, Rachel James, Jennifer Duarte


It's Just a Matter of Time

It’s just a matter of time ...
It is easy to see that we are a culture of technology when we closely observe the world around us.  In fact, technology is a predominant and unavoidable presence in our lives.  It is more often noticed by people when their technological device is temporarily out-of-service how much they depend upon technology versus when it is a fully functional item that allows them to continue with their daily routines.  This is a reminder about the codependence we have with technology and ourselves.

Our lives are currently filled with iPads, iPods, cellphones, laptops, flat screens televisions … and the list is daunting.  It makes techies smile having regular access to these devices because it gives them the ability to instantly connect to the world.  It makes others secretly smile because they know that these devices will become obsolete just like the Beta or VHS player that filled many of their homes or classrooms not too long ago.  It’s just a matter of time before we notice the transformation of technology in new forms and dimensions.

Nonetheless, these devices will spark memories of the current generation in years to come. Technology can be traced to a certain point in time, even though technology is never defined by time because it is always changing.  Devices are reminders of the technology that once was, the technology that is currently in place and the power of technology that is yet to come.

It is hard not to wonder what the world will be like tomorrow and the capabilities that these technological advances will offer to make the world a more fascinating place.  It is even harder to imagine what the world will be like in twenty years from now or in the more distant future as the marvels of technology unfold.  It’s only a matter of time to see what kind of power that this new technology will have to offer.

As an educator, I constantly ponder the question, “Am I preparing my students to embrace a world that is highly defined by technology by equipping them with both the emotional, intellectual and technical skills to adapt to this powerful evolution?”  More importantly, “Am I preparing myself to embrace technology that readily defines the lives of myself and my students?” It’s just a matter of time before we need to approach the world as innovators, entrepreneurs, critical thinkers and life-long learners that can handle the momentum of technology.

It was just a matter of time that technology changed the interface of my classroom for both my students and myself.  It started with a “Teacher Learning Leadership Project” (TLLP) in which our goal was to integrate technology, specifically personal devices, into our classrooms to capture the attention of the low-achieving or disengaged student.

Our team received 16 Chromebooks for our students and it was just a matter of time before I realized the magnitude of the project.  It was a mixture of overwhelming excitement, nervousness, and the task of navigating Google Chromebooks as a way to deliver lessons to engage my students.  When the project first started, I was not sure how children who were 7 and 8 years of age would have the capabilities to tackle a Google Chromebook when it posed a challenge to those of us who had some prior knowledge.

On one hand, I feared this type of “playground” for my students because I knew it’s potential risks.  To mitigate these risks, I contemplated taking the more traditional route of teaching my lessons through the simple textbook & paper tasks to avoid any type of interaction with a Google Chromebooks.  On the other hand, I wondered if it is even a greater risk to not expose my students to new learning through different mediums!  It was just a matter of time that the later of the two predicaments took precedence.

My first concern was my students ability to access their accounts using lengthy logins and passwords.  It was evident that this was an area that they grasped rather quickly.   My students learned how to set up user accounts, add profile pictures and complete a google search to make their picture best represent their personal interests.  It was just a matter of time before they caught on to logging on and keeping this knowledge in check for next time.  

We later graduated to having 4 Chromebooks in the classroom.  Thanks to help of some older students who helped our class review the basics about Google Chromebook features (e.g., finger strokes on the keyboard) our class was ready to venture a little bit further into the technological world.  We accessed www.shepherdsoftware.com to play educational games and educational apps from the Chromebook store.  

It was just a matter of time before students were inquiring about navigating the web for places they typically access on their own personal time.   It was at this moment that I realized how capable and eager my students were to learn about new forms of technology.

We eventually made a class plan for using Google Chromebooks and followed guidelines modelled by our Waterloo Catholic District School Board computer policy.  Students were then using Google Chrome books to access our online classroom D2L site https://wcdsb.elearningontario.ca/.  Students later used the Google Chromebooks to support their classroom learning such as completing graphic organizers from teacher directed sites for subject areas like Social Studies.  Now I can’t wait to try Google Drive to create multiple choice questions etc.  The possibilities are opening up in ways I’ve never imagined.

The level of engagement from all students was astonishing.  It just a matter of time before all school systems embraces technology to develop the 21st learner!

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