I have realized recently how much I use technology as a teaching tool. This past week I was in Lubljana, Slovenia meeting with a small but dedicated group of technology teachers to re-write curriculum for my school, Quality Schools International.
While I was there, students continued to meet. During this time, I used both skype and etherpad extensively to stay in touch with what students were doing.
I used Twitter to get teaching ideas and watch for the latest applications to reference in our curriculum. We will be using i-cyte to supplement our curriculum with updated, collaborative links to the best sites for educating students (more on that later).
Today, after returning to Kazakhstan, I used a Geography Homework Generator to help give students creative but relevant tasks to deepen their understanding of Central American regional issues.
I also quickly adjusted my lesson after noticing a tweet from @earthhour regarding Earth Hour on March 27 at 8:30 PM, and showed them a powerful youtube video of what Earth Hour is all about.
Tonight, as students begin completing their homework, I have fielded one cell phone call and two skype requests for additional information about homework. Students came away with the information they needed to complete their homework, feeling empowered to complete it.
Certainly there are costs to being so connected to my work as a teacher. But the results of using technology are obvious. My job as an educator does not begin or end when I walk through the schoolhouse doors. I refuse to think that way. Technology challenges those of us who choose to think that way to do more. But the payoff of using technology in this way is well worth the cost.