How technology ‘changed’ my (work) life

I have been listening to the audiobook version of How Starbucks Changed My Life by Michael Gates Gill. In this book, Michael, gets a new lease on life after being fired from his high-powered adverImage from: http://nonfictionlover.today.comtising job. This life-change occurs, you guessed it, as an employee of Starbucks. Basically, Michael learns about who he really is and what is most important in life; something he couldn’t have done if he was still in his high stress job.

So, what does this have to do with me? While listening today, it dawned on me that technology had a similar effect on my life; well my work life for certain. About 12 years ago <choke>, I was in a rut professionally. I had taught the same grade in the same place for a number of years and was looking for something to energize my teaching — enter computers! I was excited by the possibilities for both my students and myself. As I began to use computers with my students, I saw an energy in them. They were excited about learning, able to challenge themselves whatever their level, and be self-directed in their learning. Students who had been in the ‘background’ had begun to fine success and in some cases emerge as leaders.

Now all of this didn’t happen overnight. The implementation of computers into my classroom started with simple word processing. But I was motivated to learn more about the potential of their use with students and understand the importance of technology in students’ lives. The move to integrate technology into my teaching and students’ learning also created a philosophical shift for me. Technology caused me to examine what I felt was most important for students and look at my teaching to see if I was meeting their needs. I hadn’t really thought about learning theory since college. Teaching for me, at that point, was about the curriculum and helping students to learn it.

Now, as a technology integration specialist, with a master’s degree in educational technology, I help other teachers feel that spark that I felt many years ago. I didn’t think I would ever step away from being a classroom teacher prior to my retirement date, but technology changed my life, my career, and now I attempt to change the professional lives of our district teachers. It’s not always easy, but very rewarding. I love when teachers share with me their pride in an accomplishment they have made, or remark “That was painless” as we complete a project with their students. And I love that technology has cemented me as a life-long learner.

How has technology changed your career? Your classroom? Your attitude/philosophy about teaching and your role in educating your students?

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Judi, my story is almost exactly yours, in reverse! I taught computers to children via a storefront learning center in the early 90’s, and THEN went back to get my CA teaching credential. Now I’m finally at a place in my career where I can marry my two loves: elementary teaching and technology. I work in a district where we have AMAZING technology leaders, I am a humbled by their talents, but it’s all about growing and learning as an individual so I’m fortunate to have them as examples.

    I recently won a set of Senteo responders for my class (I hope they arrived while I’ve been on Spring Break) and I *may* be getting a Smartboard for my school next year, so I’ve ramped up my research on technology in the classroom, which led me to you. I have to say, I share your podcast apathy, though I’m really trying to feel the love 🙂

    I enjoy your perspective, thanks for blogging!

  2. Excellent post…I am in total agreement. I have been a technology guru for many years (I am an engineer). The integration of Technology into the classroom is awesome! Stop by my blog and take a look at the link in my latest post. I would be interested in your thoughts as you are on the forefront of this.
    Enjoy the day!
    -Loren
    http://www.theteachingbox.com

  3. […] what does this have to do with me. While listening today, it dawned on me that Technology had a similar effect on my life; well my work life for certain. About 12 years ago <choke>, I […]

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