Just Crayons? Just Chromebooks? Just Creativity?

Referencing Rethinking Technology by Punya Mishra & The Deep-Play* Research Group, Michigan State University

This article really resonated with me because I’m always thinking about what tomorrow could bring. When I see things that seem outdated or systems that need improving, I always find myself thinking about what they may look like in the future when they’re revolutionized by new technology. When something seems ineffective, I like to envision what it may look like in the next ten years. I’ve always thought like this subconsciously. Now, teaching, I’ve found myself envisioning this more within my practice as well! I want to be always striving for what’s more in my classroom. A great way to do this is by continually working with better and better technology.

The future of teaching definitely involves lots of technology. The problem is, sometimes it’s thought of as separate from content we teach. Tech should be more like an enhancement, as I can connect from the TPACK model. Students can also use technology as a creative outlet, allowing them to think differently in the scope of the future.

When I think about how things will look or how norms will change, it doesn’t seem personal. I think about the engineers and architects, the policy makers and administration. Someone will think of something innovative to change the way we do that, or make it more efficient. But why not personally? I want to be able to envision the future of education and make the moves of which I’m I’m capable in my own classroom. I would like to bring my classroom into the 21st century. I am excited and capable of enhancing my practice with these aspects of technology and innovation right now instead of waiting for someone else to change the way we teach in the future.

Keeping our minds on the future as teachers is so vital, our kids aren’t going to be working in the present society with this technology. They’re working in the future. So how exactly do we prepare them for the future, when we only have today’s technology available to us? It’s all about the mindset, baby! And thinking about always improving. So how can I do this now? Today?

“Technology” by Sephko is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

Not only can I model always thinking ahead, but I can put my students through this with me, as I teach them! In the article Rethinking Technology, it says, “the field of education has been chrono-centric in its view of technology” (Mishra & The Deep Play, p. 5). In teaching, this means teachers have the mindset that the best tech we’ll ever get is the tech we have today. This is the opposite mentality I want my students to have in order for them to grow up successfully. If we use a program or an app in our classroom, I always want them to be thinking about how it could be better or another tool would help us learn more effectively. In order to teach them this well, I, as a teacher, need to be willing to expose them to and try new technology with them. 

This doesn’t mean I should introduce them to a new app each day and ask them their opinions about it. This means I have to keep TPACK in mind as I teach my students to the best of my ability. First and foremost, I always want to keep in mind the content and the pedagogy that matches it the best. Then comes the technology part that is best for that situation. While my students are learning from these tools, I’d like them to contemplate how it could improve. I also want to have my own mindset of what tech tool would be even better to help the students with the content and learning method. This way, together, we’re both always trying to be inventive.

Later in the article the authors say, “the interaction between knowing a technology, knowing about pedagogy, and understanding a subject matter that makes for effective teaching with technology” (p.14). This describes how knowing all the parts of a TPACK(ed) lesson well can prove to be beneficial to the students.

I want to be able to encourage my students to be thinkers of tomorrow. I can think of this as innovative, but I can also think of it as creative. The article states, “creative thought processes are considered increasingly necessary as criteria for accomplishment in the progressively complex and interdependent 21st century.” This was super interesting to me because I never thought of technology as a creative outlet. This is a great mentality to have going forward with my students – creativity takes on the 21st century! Yet another example of an opportunity to think towards the future. Encouraging students to be creative through technology will set them up for future success. What’s better than a bunch of innovative thinkers leaving your classroom at the end of the year to go change the world?

Mishra, P. (2012). Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Crayons are the Future. TechTrends,56(5), 13-16. doi:10.1007/s11528-012-0594-0

TPACK.ORG. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://tpack.org

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