While doing our timeline today (for Romeo and Juliet) as a review of what we read yesterday, students asked if they could take a picture of the timeline after we put it together instead of copying it down. I was ataken back by that request, but allowed them to do it. It definitely helped move things along quicker and I did not need to pause to have students spend 10 minutes copying it down.
Is this an effective tool to use? I have no idea and it remains to be seen. We all know the old tried and true way - writing helps you remember.
The thing is, this is a different generation than the generation I grew up in. I grew up on the brink of technology. I grew up in the days of AOL Instant Messenger and E-mail as primary internet communication. The landline was the primary use of phone and cell phones were big blocks. I went to school and took notes - pages upon pages of notes (It probably did not help I did not know how to take notes until I got to college). Nonetheless taking notes was the primary way to get information teachers gave us.
Now, we have cell-phones, web sites where we can upload our powerpoint, activities, etc. Smartboards can be found in the majority of schools across the country. Students are always telling me awesome ways to use technology (still have not been convinced of twitter yet!) and it is easy to see that students are most comfortable with a computer.
After this class took photos of their timelines, I couldn't help but think, are we on the brink of drastic change? Are our roles as teachers continuing to change? The role of a teacher has changed drastically since I've been in high school, but it is still changing - rapidly! Thanks to technology today, the role of a teacher is starting to become more of a facilitator, allowing students to discover and learn on their own. At what point does the change stop? At what point will teachers be able to breathe and relax a bit before the next piece of technology is thrown at us and we need to revamp our teaching style yet again?
I believe in teaching according to student learning styles, and that's the way it should be in all classes. Yes, we have different learning styles over the years and we take that challenge head on and it makes us better teachers. With students so dependent on technology, we need to incorporate technology in our lesson plans. I love technology and incorporate it often. Does technology make our students lazy? It's so much easier to just take a picture of a timeline than write it down. Will we reach a point where everything is done through technology? Will it happen during my teaching career? It's hard to say. I will say, I will embrace the challenge head-on and am eager to learn about new technology. I just worry that students may lose something if they use technology 24/7. I'm not sure what they will lose, but they will lose something.
I will continue to encourage students to use technology and embrace it because they are truly the first generation growing up with the world at their fingertips and every piece of information they ever wanted a click away.