Technology in the classroom has been something I have been extremely passionate about from the moment I stepped foot in my very first classroom. The instructional support capabilities that technology brings to the table are constantly being redesigned and revamped in order to create a more effective and efficient learning environment for the minds that will indubitably shape the future. In a world where technology is rapidly replacing traditional methods of instruction, it is extremely important for educators of all levels to refresh their current knowledge of technological tools, as well as continue to discover and use the plethora of resources that are being released every day.
When I was invited by Beth Wardlaw to attend the Georgia Educational Technology Conference (GaETC) in November, I was delighted to accept. This meant that I, as a fourth grade teacher, would get the privilege to learn about new ways to use technology to push and challenge my students in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Upon arriving at the conference, I was immediately overcome with jubilance due to the overabundance of opportunities for me to expand my knowledge and become a better teacher. The very first session gave me the opportunity to hear Leland Melvin speak. Mr. Melvin is an astronaut that worked his way from an underprivileged upbringing, fighting through many difficult barriers and situations along the way, to eventually make his way to the International Space Station. In his opening remarks, he referred to the phrase, "The right stuff, is the never give up stuff" several times. Well, this stuck with me throughout the rest of the sessions I attended for the next two and a half days.
Each session I chose to attend became focused around how I can effectively push all of my students, no matter their ability level, to the point that they too could realize that they should never give up on theirselves and keep trying until they have succeeded at whatever they are doing. This brings me back, full circle to the inclusion of technology in the classroom. Every session I attended allowed me to gain insight on technology resources of all types that could engage, push, and challenge my students in nearly every academic situation.
I was able to learn about technology resources that use real world problems (scaled to the grade level). These resources can teach students how to take on challenging texts or even manage money and create their own businesses. There are also great resources that supplement teachers' efforts in teaching students how every culture matters. The resources and strategies to use this technology with my students was something I was definitely able to share with my coworkers. I was able to find different resources and share them during the conference sessions as well as bring back different literature for other resources. I was able to learn more about differentiation in a technologically advanced classroom as well as different strategies for ensuring my students are ready for the future of technology.
I am so incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to attend this conference and bring back the knowledge and experience it gave me. It was truly a gift to be able to expand my knowledge and teaching strategies to continue pushing Darlington, and the education it provides, forward.
I would like to thank the Thatcher Professional Development Grant for providing me with the funds to attend this conference.