Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Microsoft Can Help Me Teach Better

Times have changed! They are changing faster than most of us can keep up. So it's important to pass along to our students the skills that are transferable to any discipline, any career, and for anything they may want to do in an unforeseeable future.
As educators, that means we must assign our students tasks that involve higher order thinking, project based work that requires them to work collaboratively, to reflect on what they have done and are doing.
Whether we like it or not the Internet has become part of our infrastructure. We use it to bank and manage our money, to conduct all kinds of business, to communicate with voice and video, and to connect and collaborate with colleagues, friends, and family. Its become a part of our identities. Like it or not, this is not going to change. That fact means that we need to teach our students responsible ways to use these hardware and software tools and be good digital citizens.
Technology hardware and software changes fast, but the basic functions stay relative the same.
To teach better we as educators must think globally about what we are doing and allow our students to design, connect with stories and create their own, see the big picture, how all the smaller parts work together, have the ability to see through the eyes of others. They need to understand many perspectives, and bring meaning to whatever they choose to do in the 21st Century. All this can come about by integrating technology in education. It's not all about the hardware and software - it's what you do with it. Microsoft can help by continuing to create the hardware and software to make these connections and support events like NECC and conferences at the state level.
The opportunity to connect, virtually, electronically, and face to face is the key to great education. It's only through these connections that we broaden our skills, learn new things and continue to try to keep up with these changes, and change ourselves. This way, none of us has to learn alone.

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