I honestly can’t remember my earliest experiences with digital technology as I have always had a computer in my house/bedroom and various forms of palm-pilots/tablets/hand-held games. That being said though I can vividly remember my first experiences with educational technology – using Success Maker (math and reading) as well as All the Right Type in my elementary school classrooms. We actually had a class called “Computers” where we used these programs and when we were done the required work for the day we got to play Cross Country Canada (a trucking game where you had to pick up and drop of loads across Canada). Success Maker was great from providing students with instant feedback on their understanding and giving variety from the mundane, everyday worksheets, All the Right Type had the largest impact on my life. I am so thankful to my teachers for forcing me to use this program for 4years and not letting me cheat. It has helped me tremendously through my undergraduate programs as well as in this program. I can’t imagine how much longer it would take me to do things if I didn’t know how to type properly.
I have always believed that technology, especially educational technologies, have had a place in our lives. That being said though, I find that many people use technology as a crutch or “inappropriately.” By that I mean that instead of learning to read a map and figure out where you are/are going, a vast majority of the population rely upon their GPS to tell them step by step how to get somewhere. People also rely heavily on calculators rather than mental math for basic math facts – many of my students don’t even know their 3 times tables. In my experience, I also find that parents use technology to parent their child for them; rather than teaching their child how to behave on interact with others, they just hand them the iPad to make them quiet and consequently, antisocial because of their addiction to their online games and apps. I would lump Success Maker into this category (somewhat) because it was used on occasion as a time filler or when the kids were too rambunctious to listen to a lesson.
While I love my technology and enjoy bringing it into my classroom, I am always hesitant to use it too much or in a way that doesn’t teach students to think critically (ie. PPT vs other presentation programs). I believe I have this struggle because of all the “miss-uses” of technology that I have seen and experienced.