Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Techie Teacher Takes a Trip
With the spark and enthusiasm of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Vacation, we decided to hit the road in our SUV for a 16 hours trip. Our family would be spending the better part of a day and a half in close quarters. Excitement at its best for our two grown boys, right? Sure!
We hit the road with a great amount of technology to keep everyone fully entertained for the long haul. As I took inventory of the technology that would make the trip, I was taken back to a time when these boys were entertained by coloring books, travel games, small toys, and books made of paper. Eleven years later, the car was filled with an iPad. two Nexus tablets, Nooks, and cell phones with hundreds of charging devices and car adapters. Tons to do.
I, myself, took time to download my favorite magazines from the public library's website, checked to ensure my latest summer must reads were downloaded on to my Nook, and typed in addresses for our points of interests into Google Maps. What would this techie teacher be without her techie tools in hand?
During our trip, I slowly began to realize how much technology played an intricate part of each day. The Garmin GPS alone was the best resource. Pop in the address and away we would go. With its polite British lady cluing my husband to his next exit safely, the Garmin navigated us to and from the Asheboro Zoo, Southpoint Mall, and Wrightsville Beach. It was a tremendous help as we searched for lunch and dinner solutions during our journey. With a few taps of the screen, we were never lost!
There were so many times during our trip when I was thrilled to see a Nook propped up on a knee or the door. Reading was happening in my car. Now that I think back to last week's trip, I really didn't see games being played or apps being used. I saw reading...lots of reading! Not because someone had an assignment. Not because it was required. Reading for the sake of reading. And the educator in me was overjoyed.
We also found ourselves "googling" everything. What time does that store open? Where is the nearest drug store? How much are the zoo tickets? I found it funny that the words I use quite often with my students when they are stuck on a question were the same words I was using on my vacation. "Let's look it up" turned out to be a great help during our little vacation.
I think I could surely go on and on about the little things technology did for us during this trip. This is the world that our Digital Natives are growing up in as they become adults. And I begin to question whether these are the things we are teaching our little natives when we have them for 9 months of the year. Technology helped me problem solve during my family trip. Am I teaching my students to problem solve using the technology that is so useful?