Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No... I'm the Math and Science Teacher

It's that time of the year when we return to school and prepare our classrooms for the upcoming year. This year, my school has a lot of new staff. The main office has a completely new staff, including a new principal, and only 60% of our teachers are returning. This led to a very interesting conversation and reflection on my part today.

Our district appointed IT guy was stopping by the building and I went in to help him inventory some "new" computers which were donated by the local college. While in the office waiting for him, I helped our new secretary reset passwords and get some wires better organized so that people wouldn't trip. This led to the conversation where I was mistaken for the building's computer teacher. As I explained to her that I was the middle school S.T.E.M. teacher but that I used the computers regularly in my classroom I realized that perhaps we are all computer teachers.

The more I was thinking about this conversation, the more I realized that we are all computer teachers. Math teachers have been using more digital resources such as Khan Academy, while science teachers are flocking to sites like the University of Colorado's PhET: Interactive Simulations. English teachers have long been teaching responsible research online, while reading teachers enjoy finding new online news sources for relative reading material. Perhaps my quick "I'm not the computer teacher" was incorrect. We're all computer teachers. Even if you expect your students to already know basic computer functions when they enter your room, you will always need to help them learn something new. Maybe they don't know how to take an image from the Internet and format it within their document. Perhaps they can't remember how to add a footnote when citing a source.

Teaching digital citizenship is the responsibility of all teachers. Technology is surrounding our students on a daily basis and we must guide them to use it efficiently.

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