Taking the time to keep up.

As I sit in my comfy chair on this Saturday morning, sipping my coffee, browsing my twitter feed, I came across a tweet, linking to a blog written by Kathy Cassidy titled Why my Six-Year-Old students have digital portfolios. Within that blog, I read a section that resonates so deep within me, that I had to re-write it out (and it was too long to tweet!) somewhere. So here it is:

“We teach kids that have no concept of a world without the Internet. Technology is a ubiquitous part of their world. They want and expect to use it at home. For me to deny that technology and what it allows them to do would be like asking someone from an earlier generation to learn without a pen or pencil. It just wouldn’t make sense.”

So…why the resistance in schools (or teachers) to provide these technologies to our kids? The obvious answer is that, we as teachers are not knowledgeable enough about the technologies (and their capabilities) ourselves to feel comfortable passing that knowledge on to our students. But like it or not, our students will – somewhere, at some point – have access to technology. They are very capable at a very young age to be able to navigate many variations of technology. We need to keep up! We need to be able to teach our students how to access and use these technologies responsibly at a young age.

Like our students, the only way for us to learn how to use different forms of technology, is to take the time to learn by PLAYING! It’s not a scary as it seems. Blogs, wikis, digital portfolios, cloud based applications, Twitter, Facebook…they are not designed in a way to make it difficult to learn how to use them, in fact, they are all pretty user-friendly. You just have to play around and see what you can do with them. The biggest component, I feel, is just devoting the TIME to that. As teachers, our time is spread pretty thin, however if we REALLY want to allow our students to reach their full potential…we have to be willing to take some time to learn about what that entails.

In my school, We are in the application phase of becoming an International Baccalaureate, Primary Years Programme school. A component of the programme is that every student must have a portfolio that will travel with them through their years in the school. Digital Portfolios are the way we are going. The only way for me to learn about how to implement these portfolios into my classroom is to start learning about, and playing within the platform which we will be using (ePearl). I can’t be afraid to start. As well, taking the time to research how other teachers have successfully implemented digital portfolios into their own classrooms. I don’t want to be just one step ahead of my students when it comes to teaching them about technology, I want to be ten steps ahead. So if that means giving up some of my own time to learn how to do that, I know that that is what I signed up for when I came into this profession. The world of technology is moving too fast for any teacher to think its alright to keep their head in the sand and not allow for opportunities for their students to have any exposure to it. It is a disservice to their generation.

I am CRAVING to learn how others have implemented digital portfolios into their classrooms. So, as I sit here, in my comfy chair on this Saturday morning, sipping my coffee, I will continue to read my twitter feed, and find blogs on the topic from other educators to read that will get me one more step ahead.


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