When I was in first grade, our classroom had a set of three computers that sat on a table in our classroom, taking up a good chunk of space. The computers looked very similar to this:
They were big and incredibly slow. The day my teacher announced that we would be doing some testing on the computers was a big day in our school, we were advancing at what we felt was such a rapid pace back then. Sometimes we would type papers on the computers and print them out, it made us feel extra fancy! By the time I left elementary school, our school had a drastic upgrade in computer technology in the classrooms. The new sets looked similar to these:
With the smaller screen and slimmer computer deck, we were able to fit more into each classroom. They ran faster and we were able to do more, like access the internet for classroom use and the speakers allowed us to hear videos (if we could get them to load). Gone were the days of researching solely through textbooks, now we could look up scholarly articles and websites for more information! It was 2005 and it was revolutionary.
Later in my 10th-grade Biology class, my teacher was applying for a grant that would supply our classroom with a set of 30 iPads. This type of thinking was astronomical, iPads had just come out that year, they were a new concept and tool and it didn’t seem like this forward-thinking would ever be rewarded. Others around the school, teachers, students, and parents mocked him for thinking something of the sort would even be a possibility. He was fairly confident it would happen. He listed out ways for us of how useful they could be, flashcard apps, looking up information, reviews, tests, using powerpoints and multiple other online materials to enhance our learning. I truly cannot reiterate enough how out-of-this-world it all seemed.
When the grant was passed and 30 first-generation iPads entered our classroom, it was a monumental day. I remember my biology teacher standing in front of us saying, “We are living in the middle of a technological revolution. By the time you are in college, these iPads will be dinosaurs. We should never be afraid to embrace the technology, it can be here to help you, let it, but within reason.” We used the iPads for PowerPoint slides, notes, and videos we would create for each other. We felt like we were making history, because well, we really were.
iPads are still around ten years later, but not in the same way they were ten years ago. If any of us were to pick up a first-gen iPad today, we would laugh. Yet, ten years ago it was like holding gold in our fingertips! It’s incredible to see the advances and changes technology has made over the years, and how it has affected our schools- both in the good ways and the bad ways.
I believe deeply that technology can be an incredible tool for us in our classrooms when used correctly. I’ve witnessed firsthand how impactful these resources have been to students, no matter what level they may be on. My hope is that I can use this space over the next few weeks to highlight ways we as educators can and have been using technology in classrooms and schools as a whole. Chromebooks, iPads, smart projectors, and other resources have been popping up in schools all over the nation, so let’s make some great lists on great ways to use them!
What technology do you have in your classroom? In what ways has it helped and hindered your students?