A Tech Tool Summer

This summer I worked with some wonderful librarians on considering opportunities for non-traditional professional learning opportunities as well as exploring some easy and fun technology tools to use in their libraries and library instruction. One of my favorite simple tools to use is Thinglink. You can upload any image to Thinglink and tag it with links out to websites, images, videos or just plain text. Below is an example I created with a few of the topics we discussed during our summer library workshops.  Unfortunately, Thinglink isn’t embedding correctly with my WordPress hosted site, so you’ll have to click the image below to be redirected to the Thinglink site get the full effect of the tool.  This is a frustrating pattern I’m noticing with WordPress, a tool I recommended to the librarians in my workshop this summer who are looking to start blogs, but one which I am reconsidering recommending.  Seems like embedding shouldn’t be so complicated.  But what do I know?

On a side note, I created the main image above in Piktochart, another of my favorite tech tools for creating pretty and informative images.  The downside to both of these tech tools is the branding that is so common to free tools.  This free thing is also probably the source of my WordPress limitations and frustrations.  The upside:  did I mention these tools are FREE?

The EdTech Kool-Aid?

Image from Pixabay.com

Image from Pixabay.com

I do edtech.  That’s what I do.  I like it.  It’s fun!  I go around talking to people about doing edtech, too.  And I’ll admit, most of the folks I talk to are edtech folks.  We have sipped from the Kool-Aid and we ain’t going back.

But sometimes people haven’t tasted the Kool-Aid.  They’re not buying this whole tech thing in general, and they really don’t want any part of edtech in their classrooms.  The first person I encountered with this opinion was sitting next to me at an eatery in San Antonio.  I was there for the ISTE conference, and I had stopped in for a quick post-conference dinner.  This guy was exactly my age, and was in San Antonio for business, but not for the ISTE conference.  When I told him what I was doing in San Antonio he said, “Why do we need technology in education?”  I probably choked a little bit on my quesadillas.  That, and I totally didn’t have an answer for him.  Why do we need air?  That’s what I was thinking.  “Why don’t we?” was my response to him.

In one of my edtech grad school classes one of the students was STAUNCHLY anti tech.  I could never really figure out why she had taken the class, but she participated in the tech activities under duress, and was not going to use tech at all in her classroom.

Tech is such an integral part of my life, and figuring out ways to make tech work for teachers to enhance student learning is so ingrained in me that when I encounter people who are closed off to the idea tech in the classroom it first makes confused, and then it makes me take a step back and question my beliefs a little bit.  Did I drink from some tainted Kool-Aid?  Did it wash my brain?  Is the joke on me?

I’m probably not edtech Kool-Aid brainwashed, but it’s always a good reflective practice to consider the opinions of others, particularly when they are divergent opinions from your own.  Understanding where folks are coming from doesn’t mean you have to agree with them; it simply makes finding a middle ground easier.  Considering the  points of view of others broadens your horizons to new ideas and thinking.  It’s a soft skill that we need to be sure we are teaching our students so they can be creative problem solvers and successful communicators now and in their futures.

So what say you?  Why do we need tech in our classrooms? (Please don’t choke on any quesadillas…not on my watch.)