Friday, December 6, 2013

241 Reflections

I'm not a person who is into gadgets.  I don't keep up with the latest technological trends.  I am content with my 8 year old computer, even if it's slow.  I like the smell of print and the feel of books.  I like to hold a highlighter in my own hand, not with a mouse.  I like to dog-ear pages or use post-its to flag a page for reference.  I like to attend lectures and take notes on paper.  Sure, I'm quick enough to pick things up, and I probably pretend to know and understand less than I really do.  I've been guilty in the past of sticking to my known and comfortable world.  This semester has taught me to see technology in a different light. 

When I was an undergraduate student in speech pathology, the extent of the technology I thought about was a communication board.  As an audiologist, of course I worked extensively with hearing aids, FM systems, and though I was never a CI specialist, I knew a bit about cochlear implants too.  Otherwise, I've seen technology as optional, superfluous items.  Things we don't really need but somehow are pretty cool. 

On the first day of class this semester, we watched a video on technology that called me out about my views on the use of technology:
And with this humbling check on my psyche, and feeling a bit like an old fogey, I wanted to challenge myself to see how comfortable I could make myself with various resources, and it's been fun and interesting for me.  My love of print actually helped me understand the role of technology as powerful tools in education, not just in the ways I initially blanketed my entire understanding with umbrella-like ideas.  You see, as much as I like to hold a pencil, scratching lead against a grainy paper to make notes upon a page, connecting my heart and my mind to whatever scribbles I've marked upon the sheet, embedding whatever I've written in my memory... another person may hold the pencil and feel nothing.  May struggle to have a grip.  Enter UDL.

This semester being my first time back in school since I finished my M.S. in 2004, I was neurotic about my organization.  I felt like being strategic and organized was the thing that would keep me going in a 15 unit semester.  So I marked my books and diligently read each chapter, visited the module sites, did my assignments...  And a few things really struck me throughout all this.  (And the extra cool thing was how much overlap there was in the messages between all of my classes.)  The main message was really about designing a learning environment with multiple entry points so that students would be able to access whatever the target is.  Having such a strong preference for my own entry points for learning made me realize that others are probably the same, with different preferences for entry.  When I look at education with a framework like this in mind, it's clear to me that there are infinite points of entry with technology.  And even though the numbers are infinite, they are somehow less daunting to me because of it. 

Let me explain by citing another of our links this semester on frameworks.  Looking at SETT and other frameworks, I cam across the "Toolbelt Theory."  When we look at the end goal, as we would with backward design lesson planning, we identify a goal, and then work backwards to see what we need to achieve that goal.  Technology fills infinite holes in this process.  And it is based upon what a student needs in order to be set up for success, rather than focusing on a specific disability.  Technology is all about access.  And I love providing access.  Therefore, I love technology.  Plain and simple.  Love it. 

Finally, I had a pretty neat opportunity to discuss how I see technology in education with some key people last week.  Listen for it in my podcast next. 


  1. AWESOME! You brought tears to my eyes. As an educator, this is my goal. To help others see new perspectives and potentially help them expand their thinking. I am glad that this class has helped do that. Go out with new understanding and do the same.

  2. Excellent post Trish. Thanks for sharing the link to that video. Great stuff