been said that, “the only constant is change itself.” Though
difficult at times, we know that change breeds growth, a necessary
part of life.
As teaching veteran with a quarter of a century's experience, I can
say without hesitation that I have seen technology “change the face
of education.” Literally amazed at times, I have watched in awe, as
technology transformed the dynamic of my classroom in the most
profound way. Through hard work, professional readings, and the
leadership of the (parish) technology staff, I have been able to
capture a higher level of interest and growth in all of my students.
In my opinion, growth should be the “key” element of any classroom,
whether it lies with the students or the teacher. Evident in the
last years of my classroom were children striving for higher
expectations, thus breeding true growth in “all of us”. During the
past few years, experiencing the phenomenal effects of technology
integration in students and other teachers I have helped, has proven
to be a truly liberating and educational journey for me. The odd
part is that I am now retired and the effects grow stronger each day
instead of diminishing. That is a true testament in how powerful
technology integration can be on an educator. The more I see growth
in classrooms throughout my district, the more convinced I am of
that power. My story begins however with an unusual twist. One that
most people would never understand. It starts with my hearing loss
and the power that hearing aids brought to my life.
Born with a moderate hearing loss, I have always been at a
disadvantage by society’s terms of hearing. Fitted with hearing aids
at the age of thirty years old, I made a conscious effort to use my
disability as an advantage in my classroom. Without a doubt, I know
in my heart, that my hearing impairment has affected “who” I am as a
teacher. During the first three decades of my life, I lived with
only half of my hearing. Despite the help of my hearing aids during
the past thirteen years, struggling with the simple task of hearing
every day sounds in the world is and will always be a part of my
life. While most can just “listen” and learn, there was never a time
in my life in which I could depend solely on my hearing abilities.
As my struggles intensified, I was able to realize the importance of
“hands on activities” and the implementation of multi sensory
methods to stimulate student learning. Through the assistance of
technology based programs, I have been able to successfully enhance
lessons by connecting concepts through the use of visual aids. In
essence, I feel that just as my “hearing aids” are tools which have
helped compensate for my hearing loss, I believe computers are tools
which help students meet individual academic needs and challenges.
Whether it be with academically strong students or those
experiencing learning problems, I have seen technology help all of
my children rise to meet personal challenges.
Because of that, as an educator I found myself constantly striving
to prepare “productive and effective” technology lesson plans, which
incorporated Louisiana state benchmarks. Though problems may have
surfaced in my journey, I was been able to see growth in each
student academically. Through on going (personal) technology
journals, documentation and strategies, I was able to create a guide
for future classes. I created electronic portfolios with the work of
every student throughout the years. My students each had a “Tech
Binder” which held printed technology projects in all major subject
areas. Through the evaluation of my technology journal, student
binders, and electronic portfolios, I was able envision a more
effective path with technology integration for my students.
For me, the most amazing part has been watching my second graders
set goals and “challenge themselves” in ways I was something I had
never experienced before. Though the weak still struggle,
academically I was able to see growth in every student. However, of
all the wonderful academic benefits that have emerged, as someone
truly dedicated to nurturing the “whole child,” one of the
most rewarding aspects, was an increase in higher self esteem in the
students. Not threatened by challenging themselves at the computers,
even the academically weaker students (who have a tendency to shut
down); work to achieve a new level of learning. It is evident that
with the computers, everyone wanted to participate, even when it
meant challenging themselves. As an educator, I feel that “said
Yes, it is evident that change offers a journey that may be
difficult and stressful to any given situation. So why did I change
as an educator? Why did I take a road paved with more work or more
stress at a time in my career when I should feel a bit of comfort?
In essence, the answers lie in what I learned through my own
personal disability. There are students who may need a different
style of communicating or learning. Technology unquestionably offers
that within the realm of classrooms everywhere. Through more than
two decades of my career, the “one constant has been change”.
Change that made a difference in my classroom, in my style of
teaching and more importantly in the learning style of my students.
My greatest hope is that all educators realize the power of change
and how technology in a classroom is essential in leading our
students successfully into a digital era. It is true, “the only
constant is change itself” and I am glad I had the courage to bring
change to my classroom through technology integration to do what I
felt was best for my students. Without realizing it, the journey
made a difference in my life, but even more so, it made a
difference for the students who will be living or surviving in a
technological era long after I am gone.