In her final post, Jenn contributes to the to ever-evolving conversation about technology’s place in education. -Ed.
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We were so lucky to meet Jeff Utecht last week to talk about using technology in the classroom. I admit, I approach new technology with a healthy dose of skepticism, always wondering, What am I using this for? For years I worked in Lake Washington School District, where the majority of our parent population was employed by Microsoft or another tech company. Parents were always pushing for more use of technologies in classrooms and we responded! Year after year, levies were secured and we received more tools, more screens, and more mandates. It was exhausting and inauthentic. Us teachers didn’t want all our kids looking at screens all day. We felt strongly that technology should be used as a tool, not as an end of itself. Utecht’s bottom line is that technology should be integrated in meaningful and authentic ways. When he said those words, I perked up! I was ready to hear something new! What I found out is this new generation of kids is hooked on media, not even so much interested in technology anymore. Sheesh! The times have changed! These days, kids are getting most of their information from Instagram – most visual, not fact-checked. I’m skipping over all of the other amazing ideas he had about how to incorporate tools because I ended up back to this idea of What are we using technology for? If kids are now living in the kind of world where they only respond to images that quickly pop up in front of their faces without any critical thinking skills to decipher the messages or consider multiple perspectives, aren’t we headed the wrong way… again? It feels as though the tail is now wagging the dog.