“How is that going to help me teach students what they need to learn?”
That’s what I said when my school district bought iPads and Apple TVs for every teacher. I never signed up for the training, which was mandatory if we wanted to receive an iPad. Thus, I never got the tablet or the Apple TV, and I never regretted my decision because I was on an extreme anti-technology push. The more those around me tried to get me to use technology, the more I said, “No way! Technology can’t replace teachers.”
On one hand, I had a point. Teachers are the creative ones who come up with the lessons that engage, inspire, and challenge their students. Teachers are the human ones who notice when a student is having a bad day and has to take a break. Teachers adapt content to their students’ needs. Technology can’t feel and it can’t connect with its students. Of course, in the 21st century, without technology, teachers can’t connect with students either.
Why I Was So Opposed to Technology
First of all, I felt like I didn’t need technology to have engaging lessons: I was funny, passionate, and creative. All I needed was Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and I could help my students learn almost everything they needed to be ready for high school and college.
However, upon further self-inspection, I have realized that my resistance to technology went deeper than just feeling like I didn’t need it. The big push for more technology in the classroom came at about the same time that teacher pay froze because of a poor economy. I was furious that the district leaders would spend thousands of dollars on technology at the same time they were refusing to give me even a penny more. “Give me the 500 bucks instead of giving me an iPad,” I remember thinking.
Furthermore, so much of the technology that school and district officials pushed for were all-encompassing programs that seemingly tried to replace teachers. These programs took all thought out of a teacher’s job, and I was infuriated that leaders felt that some new technology knew how to teach my students better than I did. Therefore, I felt undervalued at the same time administrators overvalued the wrong technology for my classroom.
The Right Technology Is a Beautiful Thing
I can’t say that I hate technology; it’s ridiculous to say that a person hates something he/she uses every day. The truth is that I love education technology: a document camera is so much better than an overhead projector; if I could, I would marry Google Apps for Education. I don’t hate technology, but schools and districts need to bring in the right technology.
Luckily, ELB Education has the right technology for today’s classroom; ELB Education is the only authorized vendor for all things Prowise, a worldwide company based out of the Netherlands. Prowise offers a range of products that would benefit schools and districts:
- Prowise LED Flat Panels with 10 points of touch and an attached PC and Blu-ray player (perfect for front of the class display, for interactive learning, and for student collaboration)
- Prowise Touchscreen All-in-One PCs
- Prowise 3-in-1 Tablets/Laptops
- Prowise Chromebooks (soon to be released)
Bringing new technology into schools is a tricky business. Every teacher has his/her own feelings (excitement, fear, anger, etc…), and those feelings determine how the teacher responds to what comes into his/her classroom. Part of my job as an Education Consultant is to work with schools to see how ELB Education can offer solutions for the schools’ technology needs. Then, another part of my job is to work with the teachers to help them get the most out of the purchased technology.
I understand that some teachers don’t think they need technology, and I also understand that the issue is probably deeper than even they realize. Technology is a beautiful thing: from “the wheel” to “the fork” to “the smart phone,” our lives are better because of technology. But it has to be the right fit.