Despite my previous post, appearing to show that technolgy may not be the panacea to effective teaching. I know that in myself I have benfitted enormously from teaching & learning, especially if I am allowed to define these two activties rather more broadly. In this broad definition, 'learning' is going to be anything that advances my knowledge or conceptual understanding in 'any' area of life not just academia.
I've always considered conscientious academics to be the ones that take the time to visit their library and peruse the new periodicals as they come in. OK now I'm not one of those. I guess I tend to be a 'I'll see it when I need it' academic. What this means is that I tend to try making my searching and perusing very focussed. I don't always succeed and that's not a bad thing because often I find myself reading around a topic and broadening my understanding from 'false-leads'. In the bigger scheme of things, I tend to use that knowledge later on anyway. However, I could never have done this without the current technology to hand.
Especially based in the Pacific where access to current and relevant journals is spotty at best, the ability to peruse journals, acquire the articles (inter-library loan via fax/email) has saved my academic bacon many times.
On top of that, I'm finding that living in the Pacific tends to make one a lot more multi-tasked and reliant on one's own ability to troubleshoot and sort problems out. For me this has meant in particular troubleshooting and repairing my Mac computers (hey Macs ARE the best computers but even a Mac gets into trouble after 5 years of continuous use, especially in the salt laden Pacific air). Fix-it forums, pictorial take-apart guides and even videos demonstrating the procedures to even access the components, are all available from the internet.
Technology isn't magic. It won't take a mediocre teacher and make her wonderful. Instead, I've seen the opposite. If you want higher order thinking going on in a classroom, you can't just assume that a laptop and projector will do it. If you have a classroom culture of silent reading, worksheets, and independent practice, it's going to be hard. the culture of the school has to change
And on the curriculum she has this to say:
A lot of people claim the technology is RELEVANT, and I'd like to address that. The technology won't make the curriculum relevant. Period. It's the teacher that does that. The technology makes it easier to show the relevancy, but it still all comes down to the teacher.
She's certainly reflecting my experience as a teacher trying (occasionally) to be innovative in the use of technology in teaching. Bottom line, technology only adds to yet more ways of presenting the material that you've decided to teach. As the adage goes 'content is king' and that is surely just as relevant to teaching as any other activity.