How about previous websites I'd scour, like Pinterest? I used to spend hours on it looking for a variety of ways to capture learning and to portray it on the walls for all to see. I would play a "game" with myself, in hopes of never clicking a link, ending at "Teachers Pay Teachers." Don't get me wrong, I love utilizing Pinterest to store resources and still look at the boards I've created for inspiration, but it's different now.
How about worksheets? When I see remnants of them left over by our copy or Riso machine, it's like going down Memory Lane: A place where a pencil was the best tool in your toolbox and practicing via paper, was the best building tool. I could mark grades on it, or, if I was in the mood use stamps or stickers, to ultimately, communicate something about that student. Or, as something that might find its way on the fridge or in the depths of a backpack or trashcan. Sure, I still use paper, but it's different now.
How about professional development? I remember scouring for the latest innovative education books to help launch my lessons or driving to conferences to learn from experts. Our professional growth days would be spent hearing about standards and crafting instruction. Talking to my grade level teammates provided a variety of ideas and cultivating synergy, before, ultimately returning to our classrooms and shutting the door. Sure, I love my team, but it's different now.
I kind of feel like technology "ruined" what I thought about teaching. Stay with me here...."teaching" was a teacher bestowing their knowledge on youth of tomorrow. The student's role was to sit still in a desk, listen, memorize, do their worksheets, perform on tests, and show progress. If they didn't, you were to come up with additional alternative ways to take time, away from something else, to remediate, re-instruct, and "make" them learn. Or send them to another teacher to help. Or have them tested for special education.
So what changed? True 1:1 Teaching is about exploring, creating, sharing, challenging, and learning in ways previously thought inconceivable: from each other, some without advanced degrees, some not in your same time zone, and those who have yet to graduate from elementary school. By utilizing technology to create and cultivate learning through scripts, reflection, blogs, student-centered experiences, everyone can become the "teacher," anyone can "teach."
My role has now turned into curator, guide, and facilitator. Curating learning and effective content, guiding the process, and facilitating lasting understanding. It's a role I'm passionate about and has changed the processes of my thoughts. When designing lessons, technology becomes embedded and not an add-on or something I have to think about how I can integrate. It's like the old-school thinking, you never stopped to ponder how you could use a pencil in the lesson, I don't stop to think how I can use technology. I, like many of you, just do. It's about the content and how to make the most of the tools you have.
My professional development now includes seven game-changing letters: T-W-I-T-T-E-R. Newbies out there, hang in there. ..you'll know what I'm talking about soon enough. It took me about eight months of checking in, "lurking" on chats, and building my PLN to get it. Talk about the ease of connecting and the power of belief: imagine a room where all people think kids CAN do it and they are there to help guide the way.
Oh, and EdCamps= genius. Who would've thought voice and choice would matter so much (We did, we've seen it happen in our own classrooms, haven't we)? Walls are broken down, conversations started, and connections made.
So yes, technology, you have now reformatted my educator's brain AND ruined the industrial model of education. Goodbye "sit & get," hello "learn and lead."