Technology makes a good teacher become better and a bad teacher become worse
4 Things I learned from the STEP Conference
Society for Technology in Education (STEP) Philippines Conference 2015 was a 2-day Ed Tech forum that aims participants to learn, to exchange ideas and to survey the field of education technology. This event attracted educators, technology coordinators, school administrators, educational media enthusiast, parents and policy makers. It was a gathering of educators which also gave an opportunity to widen one’s network with other teachers from the various schools nationwide. The conference has three parts: keynotes, idea sessions and skill sessions.
I was part of the STEP Conference as speaker for two skill sessions. I facilitated a workshop on the Integration of Google Drive and Google Maps Engine and Introduction to Google Classroom. As a community leader of the Google Educators Group (GEG) in Cagayan de Oro, I, together with my team, set up a simple Google for Edu exhibit where teachers get to learn more about Google for Edu and win prizes from GEG.
Since my schedule for the 2-day conference was full, I did not have the chance to participate in the other sessions conducted by other speakers. Despite that, I still learned from the conference through the speeches of the 3 keynote speakers.
For those who were not able to join the conference, I would like to share the 3 things I learned which will also motivate or encourage you to join conference such as STEP.
We just have to trust and hope for the best.
In the first keynote, I learned that despite challenges in the educational sector of our country (Philippines), the Department of Education is making efforts to provide schools, especially the public schools, with the necessary technology so that Filipino students will be able to acquire 21st century skills. Personally, I thought that there is no hope for our public education system but according to the speaker, about 95% of the schools in the country were already given computer sets and other technologies to enhance the teaching and learning process. The Department of Education is creating some mechanism in order for schools to be able to integrate ICT in education. We can count on that and we will just hope for the best.
There is power in “Bayanihan”.
This concept of Bayanihan is really true to the Filipinos and it’s good to be reminded how powerful this could be. Our collective efforts in helping one another is making a significant impact to each our lives. Media nowadays, as told by Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa, is already providing a venue where concerned citizens and netizens can share news and information in real time. This effort in Media has been proven to be very effective during disasters that happened in the past few years. Many lives were saved and casualties were lessen because people were helping out provide information about what was happening. This is also true when it comes to Education. As teachers, if we come hand in hand and work together towards improving our education especially in terms of integrating ICT, we can move mountains.
Whether we use technology or not, basic principles of teaching and classroom management remain the same.
It is true that when we use technology, our lives become productive and our work becomes faster and easier but we should not become slaves of it. When students use technology, we need to guide them more. Students might abuse the use of technology and they might be distracted with some irrelevant applications and software, so teachers must be vigilant enough to monitor how students use the technology. According to Xavier School Principal Ms. Jane Cacacho, it is important that teachers create a classroom environment that is well-managed so that both teachers and students get the maximum potential of the technology being used. Structuring the physical environment, discipline, routines and procedures are still very important for a classroom that supports ICT.
Lastly, Technology makes a good teacher become better and a bad teacher become worse.
As teacher, we need to become digital citizens. We need to know when and how we use technology. We need to identify appropriate technology for a particular lesson. We need to discern if technology can help us deliver the lesson better. We need to teach students how to become a responsible netizen. There is many things that we should do and learn but at the end of the day, it’s up to us on how we employ ICT in our profession. I just hope that it helps us become better and not worse.
Photo in this blogpost is from the STEP Conference Project Head, Ms. Mary Sieras.