As my technology use develops, I find myself, well, returning to simpler times. I use whiteboard markers (more). I try to minimize my add-ons / peripherals / accessories. It’s all symptomatic of that finding the right balance between technology and efficiency, or, perhaps better, the balance between short-term efficiency and long-term efficiency.
I’ve returned to Socrative, one of the first inst-assessment tools that I came across (here’s Socrative in this blog). I did some iPad assessments, I did physical clickers (which, I’ll admit, I did like, but, again, too inefficient in the short-term), and I’ve recently been almost exclusively using the assessment tools in ItsLearning, my school’s LMS.
Socrative, however, provides that quick, no-set-up check-in that can be so useful when concluding a lesson or activity, and in the past week I’ve used it twice to survey the class for the results of an activity: once when we matched up Milton’s primary characters in Paradise Lost to modern occupations or roles, and once when my Latin class went around the room to use comparatives and superlatives to find fellow students that fit certain characteristics (one student had a size 15 foot!).
In general, either my technology use has gone down or, at least, it has not moved forward at the rate at which it had, or was, when I began the blog. I’m not a techno-hipster, longing for the days of pen-to-paper; my classes are all very much paperless and we use the laptops every day, but having those laptops in the hands (or on the desks) of students has taken much of the techno-burden off of me, i.e. I don’t have to innovate or find technological workarounds because the students have the tools they need already.
On the one hand, I miss my wild west technology days, when I was trying things to try things, and school would give me things because they knew I’d see how they worked (even if they didn’t work well; and they are still willing to give me things, I might add; there just isn’t as much to give because of the laptops). But I feel more settled, with a plan of both how I want to use technology and how I want my students to use technology.
And for me that’s the important step, that technology is now so ingrained in my teaching that I neither notice it (much) or worry about how to implement it (much). It is for me and my students no different or separate from their notebooks, textbooks, and pencils for many of their other classes.
So, no, I’ve not been updating the blog as much because there hasn’t been much to say. But, yes, I’ve been more content with my technology use such that, well, there hasn’t been as much to say.