Ben's Educational Technology Philosophy

Philosophy of Education Regarding Technology

As the Great Plains Academy Computer Teacher, I already use technology as a means of education, to some extent. My stated responsibility is to help my students learn how to use a computer and the various tools, ie. software that is available for computers. It is my belief that at the rate technology and business are changing, it is not enough that my students learn how to use the current incarnation of the Microsoft Office Suite, though that is certainly a good start. Since technology and business are changing so rapidly, I can do them the most good by teaching my students how to learn to use technology that is new to them. Thus far, the best way that I have been able to accomplish that goal is to ask them where they have looked for the answer to their question before they asked me; whether they have looked in their book, looked in the software's help files, or looked online. I hear myself answer, "I don't know…" very frequently. Sometimes I really just don't know. Usually, I don't have enough information to give them the answer, which is good because in most cases, I don't want to just answer their question. I want them to figure it out themselves because I know they will remember it better if they do. So I ask them, "What does the book say? OK. What do the help files say?" Near the end of this year, most of my students had finally gotten the idea that they needed to have done some looking themselves before I would begin sharng from my personal knowledge base. I believe my students are absolutely brilliant. I just have to convince them of that first. I have to help them get into the habit of seeking out knowledge themselves instead of merely asking someone to hand them the answer.

Having now nearly completed the class, Technology in Education, or Hot Technology, There are a few things that I will change about my classes. Having worked in a paperless office, I wanted, last year, to have digital drop boxes for my students to turn assignments in; I now have several different options at my fingertips to meet that objective. In addition, these same tools also offer assignment books, which my students do not currently have or use. It is my hope that these things will increase my students tendency to turn in their work. I also plan to implement blogs, wikis and forums into both the regular class experience and the various class projects. These are tools that some of my students are already familliar with, though not all of them are. I know that my students need to opportunity to use these tools in order to learn how to use them responsibly.
I still have the same responsibility to help my students learn how to learn about technology that is new to them. In order to show them effective, practical methods for learning new technology, I need to be more willing to let my students see me in situations where I'm not sure how to do some things on the computer. Then I will be modeling effective computer learning. I also need to train my students to make good decisions when it comes to using web 2.0 online services, and to think about what they are posting online before and while they're writing. I also need to train my students to be able to constructively deal with online threats. There are dangers out there, and it is, in part, my responsibility to help them learn how to avoid danger, and what to do when they are in danger.

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