Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Leadership Role That We As Teachers Play

I had a high school student by the name of Hope Williams shadow me earlier this week. It was a part of the SLIDE Program, “Student Leadership Involvement Day For Education” that is put on by the Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools. Four to seven students are chosen from each high school in Forsyth County. The students that are in this program are considered to be future leaders. I think it is a great program and I was very happy to be involved in it. I asked Hope to give me her thoughts on the technology that she has experienced in the classroom during her high school career and express how it helped her learn better. What can I say, I’m a teacher. Of course I gave her an assignment. Here is what she wrote.

“Technology in the Classroom
By Hope Williams
Everyone knows of some high dollar piece of technical equipment that one teacher or another has tried to use-- whether they succeeded at doing so or not-- but how does it help us as students to learn more efficiently? Many of these tools allow us to take in the information in a different manner than we would normally. Variety is the spice of life.
The most common piece of technology in the classroom is the projector. The box that hangs from the ceiling or that is located on a maneuverable cart can come in handy. First off the hassle of trying to read your teachers messy handwriting off the overhead or off the whiteboard is eliminated. You no longer have to stare at the same word trying to figure out whether that’s a “c” or an “e” and you no longer have to be yelled at by your teacher because you were asking your friend their opinion on what the teacher wrote down. Another good thing about projectors is that it presents the opportunity to get a visual representation of the topic you are trying to learn about. Another one of my favorite technologies is the Document Camera. It’s similar to an overhead projector but you can put anything under its lens not just a transparency. Also whatever is under the lens will show up in color just as it would if you were looking at the actual object. This helps because it doesn’t limit what a teacher can show the classroom. The SMART board also provides an interactive experience with the subject material. A couple weeks ago in physics class we used the SMART board to learn about circuits and resistors. The use of the SMART board helped me to understand the inner workings of the circuits. A new technology that is coming out will be Classroom Performance System. This looks like a remote for your TV but it is able to take test answers from students and immediately send the answers to a computer which will have the test graded by the time you finish taking the test. This will make it easier for teachers to grade and for those eager students like me that want to know what their grade is ASAP. Also this saves trees, which is always good for the environment. I’ve always been a fan of technology but I think it makes the classroom easier and more fun. I’ve always been more interested when a teacher pulls out an interesting activity on the SMART board than when a teacher starts lecturing and expects you to take notes. One thing related to technology that I would change in high school is the use of laptops in the classroom. I believe that if laptops were allowed in classrooms like they are in college people would take better notes because they would be legible later, and stored in a convenient location –no more misplaced notes—and it would provide an easier way for teachers to give their students pre-made notes. Not to mention the saving of trees again. Overall technology does what it is supposed to; make life easier.”

Why am I blogging about this today? Well, it made me think that as teachers, we all leaders. We have a child’s life in our hands for 45 minutes or all day depending on the grade level we teach. In that time, we have a responsibility to our students. What we choose to do and say on a day to day basis changes their life experience in some way. You might have a student that decides to become a teacher because they saw something in you that made them want to be just like you. We all have had teachers in our past that have made a lasting impression on us. Teaching is not an easy job. It is however a responsibility, one that we cannot take lightly. Technology does help our students learn better. Please take the time to learn how to use it and integrate it in your day to day lessons. We will be here to help you every step of the way.

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