For my second weekly post for TED506, I was inspired by another class assignment and decided to briefly reflect and write up a quick autobiography of my personal ed-tech use.
From first grade through freshman year of high school, I attended a small private but urban Catholic school in Elizabeth, New Jersey. When I think about my early school years, the most prominent technology we used was the blackboard. Most of our instruction was teacher-centered and as a result, the blackboard was mostly for the teacher’s use. It was a rare but exciting moment when one of us was called up to scratch an answer on the blackboard. (I, however, was more excited about being picked to clean the erasers at the end of the week!) One of our teachers, Mrs. Nolan, used the blackboard quite extensively. She was known to use up a whole pack of yellow chalk and all three boards for one class’ worth of social studies notes.
Most of my technology use in middle school pertained to print media. My father scrupulously saved and collected a whole set of leather-bound Grolier encyclopedias, and they were proudly displayed on our living room bookshelf. I still distinctively recall the thrill of reading through them and stuffing my reports with facts that I read. (Okay, super geek alert!)
It wasn’t until 7th or 8th grade that we began receiving keyboarding lessons. My classmates and I felt so grown up because it meant we had to go to the third floor of our building to take the classes, which was the floor designated for the high school. Our lessons mostly derived from the Mavis Beacon typing software– 60 minutes of individual drill and practice and manila folders over our hands. While I was bored to tears most of that time, I now consider myself quite lucky because my keyboarding skills later helped me with future word processing assignments!
It wasn’t until I transferred to a suburban magnet high school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, that my use of ed-tech really expanded. All of a sudden, there were whiteboards, projectors, audio and visuals and what we all lovingly called, “The Multimedia Center”. The Multimedia Center was a huge room outfitted with over twenty new computers and it was in this room where my classmates and I spent most of our mornings, lunch breaks and afternoons doing research or completing assignments.
Being a career academy, we spent half our time learning how to use AUTOCAD and earning college credit for by taking technology courses in engineering, design, computer programming and 3D animation. I can honestly say that my high school years were the most grueling but despite the large workload, I really enjoyed it. One of my technology wow moments was seeing my team’s architectural designs built into a 3D dollhouse!
My college years were spent largely in the medicine field. As an undergraduate at Rutgers University and then later at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the registrar just started offering e-learning courses. These e-classes were a god-send because as a daily commuter, it cut my weekly commute and gas costs in half! Virtual labs were also offered in many of my science classes, which were a favorite of my classmates because it often cut down our 3-hour orgo-chem lab hours. Personally I preferred the real lab environment, but that just may be the long hours spent in chem lab talking!
It wasn’t until during student-teaching and later in graduate classes at the College of Saint Rose that I encountered more recent ed-tech and Web20 tools. The school in which I student-taught had Smartboards, digital camera projectors, and mobile laptop carts. It was like being in a candy store! My interests in ed-tech as an educator was spurred by a chance email sent by the school technology specialist. The email led me to my current use of social media, which helped me develop my own personal learning network (PLN). It was this PLN that opened my eyes to Web20 and helped confirm my decision to pursue edtech grad courses.
Other Related Posts
“To Be Taught” by Katrina Lopez
“The New Book of (Old) Knowledge” by zphaze
“Girl With Laptop” by PictureYouth