Using Technology for Efficiency and Effectiveness

Some of you have seen the “Did you Know?” videos that are so prominent on Youtube and started in 2006. It almost sends chills up your spine with information of the rapidity our world is consuming knowledge, technology, and resources. You can’t quite control the fear that is created by the ominous, black, powerpoint-like video describing how much we rely on technology now. I’m not going to lie; my opinion was swayed until really thinking about the video 24 hours afterward.

With the exponential growth of technology, comes the exponential growth of information and expectancy to learn a multitude of skills and strategies. Learning new skills like information literacy is a new to all of us. After all, over 3 billion people use the internet now (2016). Imagine how much information there is to consume.

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As educators, we are expected to help our students learn the skills to solve the problems of tomorrow (Madda, 2016). It is a little worrisome when the student surpasses the teacher, which happens quite a bit with technology these days. Even with a degree in technology, I sometimes feel behind and struggle to stay on task to help my students learn more about the world they are preparing to enter. But we, as educators, cannot let our strategies take a laterigrade movement while our technology exponentially grows and the need for our students’ minds to grow increases, right along with our anxieties about change.

In higher education my professional goal is to cast a wide net of impact, along with a deep connection to the students. Social media, the use of technology, and “meeting the students where they’re at” is what will help me achieve my goal of impact. Educators should be challenged, not discouraged, to switch tactics and look for the best strategies to help our students learn. Government and administration should be committed to investing the budget (without the additional legislation) and time for our educators to learn and stay up-to-date on best practices with efficient and effective use of technology. This is how our educational system will cast that wide net of impact and connect with each student on an individual level to ensure the preparation for the “real world.”

We should be committed to creating trainings on time-savers, effective uses of technology for learning and a culture of utilizing the most popular technology within our field. By sharing what we’re doing, and keeping everyone in the loop of the little time-savers and effective strategies, we contribute to the exponentially changing culture of education. Educators should search, practice and share knowledge of the technology that is utilized within education, while administrators should allow educators to train and learn more efficient uses of technology.

I agree and disagree with Ms. Jahana Hayes, the 2016 US Teacher of the Year. We have enough resources to grow our use of technology in education, but then we need the time and incentive to keep up with the fast-changing pace of technology. This way our students will learn by watching their teachers, professors and higher education staff be proactive and problem solvers, and in turn, replicate their actions and dedication to positive change once in the work force.

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2 comments

  1. Carrie Leahy

    Colleen,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with your comment, “we have enough resources to grow our use of technology in education, but then we need the time and incentive to keep up with the fast-changing pace of technology.”

    As a middle school teacher, our planning period is barely enough time to answer a few parent emails and use the restroom, never mind time to learn something new. I believe the best way to help teachers tackle their anxiety with technology is for administrators to include technology within our mandatory in-service and faculty meetings. While taking the time outside of the school day for professional growth is an expected part of our profession, learning new strategies within our school settings around the support of our colleagues is a lot less intimidating.

    As far as incentives go, my incentive to learn new technologies corresponds to “the time savers” that you discussed in your post. If using technology will help me be more efficient in my job, I am completely open to learning new methods. This summer I learned about google forms which caused me to reconfigure parts of my opening school week paperwork. What a valuable tool that was, along with being a big “time saver”! If technology helps me do my job better, I am all in.

    Thanks again for your insight. I look forward to learning from you this semester.

    Carrie

    • Hi Carrie,
      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience within a planning period. I don’t think I ever thought about that, but it makes quite a bit of sense. My mother-in-law is a 3rd grade teacher and is finally retiring after this year’s end. I hear some of her side about not having time to create even just lesson plans if she doesn’t have a parent volunteer to help with grading. I agree that professional development for tech strategies should be included from the administration for K12 teachers. In higher education, you have to get your dept/office to fund you to travel to a conference for professional development, but there’s no mandating what you go to once you are there. Usually we have to present in order to get funding to go to the conference too. So the opportunities are limited as well.

      I’m also a big time-saver technology user. I just brought Calendly into our office to setup student appointment calendars with our outlook emails. It saves so much time replying to students to find a time to meet during the week! I was on a Google-based campus at my last position, and I LOVED using Google Forms for everything. Currently we have to use Qualtrics as an assessment/survey tool. It’s quite a big tool for such a tiny job, but great with creating analytics and coding data, which is something Google Forms hasn’t caught up to yet.

      I hope you have a good day/week!

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