Inspirational Transitions: Cultivating the Capacity to Embrace Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching…….A Mission of Sorts
Cultivating a desire to inspire via the use of technology-enhanced teaching and learning (TETL) is a challenge given the uneven and differential technological landscape that exists in many Ontario schools. Many educators continue to report to me discrepancies in resources and supports specific to TETL. Notably, much of what they report is similar to what I experienced as an educator. Despite the greater access to more affordable technologies and information, I am left to wonder, have we really come that far?
More than 20 years ago, I began working with technology in education as a special education teacher in a publically funded grade school located in Ontario, Canada. At that time in teaching, making use of the existing technology required a tremendous amount of creativity, vision, and resourcefulness. The technologies of the time were not cost effective, there was little pedagogy that informed its use, and technical support was limited (school-board level, information-technology departments were not yet standard protocol); essentially, you were your own information technology (IT) department.
After 4 years working in the field of special education, my principal asked if I would be interested in becoming the information technology (IT) teacher and site manager for IT. At this period in time, personal computers (PCs) were gradually emerging in educational environments across the province. I was involved in meetings about the creation and implementation of an electronic report-card platform to replace the traditional pencil-and-paper reporting system. The impending threat of a digital platform was causing a tremendous amount of trepidation in educators who lacked familiarity and confidence using a digital interface. With these considerations in mind, I accepted the job of lead technology person in my school, with one significant proviso: that I be allowed to develop one of the first PC-based networked computer labs in our school. The administrator’s response was, “Make it happen.” Today these words, and the considerable challenge I created for myself, have great significance in my teaching, speaking, writing, and research.
In essence, this experience provided me with the key rationale for my book and the research I continue to undertake to support it.
As a result, I have developed the concept of technoresiliency. Future posts will reveal more about this concept. Feel free to contact me for more information, or to book a time when I can share with your group this exciting area of research.
To read more about some of my perspectives related to transitioning pre-service teachers into the differential technology landscape that exists in Ontario , and other issues related to transitions in education, please consider a University of Toronto Publishers book entitled, Perspectives on Transitions in Schooling and Instructional Practice, edited by Susan E. Elliott-Johns & Daniel H. Jarvis .
The title of my chapter 19 in the book is, Inspirational Transitions: Cultivating the Capacity to Embrace Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching.
The link to this book can be found at Perspectives on Transitions (on UTP Website):http://www.utppublishing.com/Perspectives-on-Transitions-in-Schooling-and-Instructional-Practice.html