Could I function in my classroom without my computer? I don’t think so. I use it every day, all day, in every class. All my materials are digital (and so far I have only printed 120 sheets of paper for my 85 students in just over a month of school). This means that I’m on trajectory to use about a ream of paper by the end of the semester (although the requisite written exams might push me over the top!) Every class is centered around a Google Site where all resources are available and organized unit by unit, lesson by lesson.
But this only describes MY use of technology in the classroom. My students all have laptops but I must admit that my engaging them through their laptops is consistent but not coherent. I communicate with my students, distribute files and have them work collaboratively on shared documents analyzing, evaluating and synthesizing various digital sources of information into their own products. But despite all of this, I can’t claim to have any clear method to my madness. Everything is ad hoc. While I have some consistent approaches I don’t imagine my students would be able to discern a coherent philosophy of technology integration from their experience in my class. Es gibt keine gestalt.
So where am I? How do I proceed? What are my next steps? Not unlike my own efforts, the advice or input I get about how to integrate is similarly consistent but not coherent (i.e. it does connected in an intentionally meaningful way). I mean no offense to the many wonderful and dedicated people I work with, I simply don’t feel as if there is a clear and consistent message about what it means for a classroom. I get tons of wonderful suggestions for cool new features, products and programs (excited to learn more about Wix (thanks, Robb) and 11trees (thanks, Dan), both of which I was turned on to today and think they hold great promise. However, each of those suggestions represent another beautiful tree in this lovely technological forest, but as the old adage goes, I need to start to see the forest for the trees.