This post deals mostly with the thought process that will guide me, hopefully, from technological dunce to technologically savvy. Or at least allow my brain to save some space for this transition, be it now or in the future . . . I realize that I am veering slightly from the original "discuss one element from class" prescription, but hoping that by engaging in deeper thought, I am actually connecting, roudaboutly as I might, to the deeper "theory of technology" or "philosophy of technology" issue.
I feel that with the barrage of technology coming at us, seemingly overnight, the expectation is that we should drop what we're doing and use it. Nothing can come from nothing, so to be able to do this, we must sacrifice time which was previously dedicated to other tasks; tasks such as marking, creating lesson plans, or differentiating instruction .... but for what purpose? So that the children in our class who can no longer function with a living person can continue to spiral into a hermetic lifestyle? So that we look cool or with it and hip and parents can oooh and aaah at our "Technologically advanced band room"? Who are we trying to please... and why? How?
I submit that technology is only as effective as the user.
What good would a room full of Orff Instruments be to the B.S/B.Ed student with a focus on Sr. Years? Very little, I would venture to guess. Similarly, a class wiki may be fine and dandy for the homeroom teachers at my school, or even a course wiki for high school teachers. But would I really feel right demanding that students access this online database in order to know what their homework is? Probably not, though it could prove to make for a good "resource exploration" class. The odds of this (class wiki) happening are even less so when I consider that I will be teaching ALL of the students in the school. All 330 of them. Not to mention that the students I will be teaching are anywhere from 5 to 13 years of age, and many of them are newly immigrated to Canada, and it is possible they do not have computer access at home. Some may have access only at one parents house. Many are not allowed to use the internet without supervision, and rarely have parents who are home and willing to supervise. Perhaps I will save my differentiation for the classroom rather than the "blogosphere".
Luckily for me, the school which I will be working in this spring, does not require teachers to have a class wiki. In fact only 5 classes actually have wiki's and from what I've seen, only 1 of them gets updated. For now I can breathe easy, knowing that extra instructions need only be written down in an agenda or on a scrap of paper. My marker and poster board props will have to suffice until the day some administrators technology budget cup overfloweth and he/she envisages "Hey.... that music room doesn't have any technology!" It's not that I don't want a SmartBoard in my room. On the contrary. I think it would be fantastic to be able to show students a video clip without having to track down a VHS copy and book a TV on a cart, wheeled precariously over that little lip where the carpet starts juuuust inside the classroom door . . . Also luckily for me, regardless of how many years ago Orff developed his instruments for children, they always manage to impress even the most removed parent in the room. "How did you get them to do that?". My answer..... outwardly, "Magic *wink*". In actuality, "Hours upon hours of score breakdown. At least one class spent perfecting the kinesthetic connection to the parts which will be played. Not to mention the years of reinforcement of beat vs. rhythm. Melody vs. harmony. Oh, and a little bit of praise now and again" .... Magic really.