This course has scope to consider so many possible avenues for exploration into educational technology and related issues that it is almost dangerous to lump all these avenues together. It would almost be better if communications technology were specified, or if we focused on research and presentations in particular. With a course named Teacher and Tech, however, we are constrained by our freedoms. Any technology that could potentially have an application in the classroom becomes our course material. Any idea that loosely connects technology to the idea of learning becomes a text.
One could say that we have not lived up to the idea of drawing those links yet between teachers and the technological cornucopia that is 2011. So far we have explored different technologies available to teachers and generalist classrooms. Some examples include Powerpoint, (although we have not spoken at all about projectors and screens) blogging, Podcasts, virtual classrooms, film and internet resources. We have spoken less about how to obtain technology for your classroom, how to decide whether a certain technology fits the bill as educational and useful, and what might be the different technological requirements of a specialty class such as music, art or power mechanics.
In terms of dialogues on the idea of technology in the classroom, we have had several good ones. One of them centered around a video in which kids of this generation are seen to be spending ridiculous amounts of time online, text messaging and playing video games. The video did a good job of showing that these kids are actually normal, except in some behaviors. One topic which I think bears further discussion is that we as teachers need to either meet students where they are at, in terms of using their technology (despite fears of pandering to the student’s whims) or teach the ethics of technology, reasonable restraint of “screen time,” and the value and nuance of face-to-face meetings with real people. I would argue that we can teach both, but the real debate is how far to lean one way or the other.