Embed: Merriam-Webster states that embed means “to make something an integral part of”.

My thoughts were (and still are) all over the place during this week’s reading. Please bear with me as I try to make sense of it and where I am with authentically embedding technology into the curriculum. I am 100% on board that our lessons must incorporate some sort of tech component, but I’m afraid that this looks different to different people and from one classroom to the next. I’m reminded of a time several years ago (before the boom of 1:1, 2:1, or anything:1, and even the invention of the iPad! [gasp]) when I had a conversation with our EdTech Specialist about how a past lesson went.

I was one of the younger teachers in the building, which somehow meant that I was utilizing the computer lab and laptop carts more than others on staff. I remember we were working on showing what multiplication looked like and different ways we can come up with answers. Long story short, we had to end the lesson early because the students couldn’t follow the directions after being given multiple chances, so we went back to the classroom– back to pencil and paper. The EdTech Specialist was so upset that I ended the lesson and began to go on and on about how I shouldn’t use technology as a behavior management tool. I was so taken aback. I wasn’t trying to manage their behavior with technology. Simply put, they couldn’t follow the directions, so an alternative assignment was given- the same kind of consequence had there no technology used. Perhaps it was my fault. Perhaps I didn’t utilize technology in the lesson and make it an integral part of the lesson. And this is where my struggle lies. What we can do with technology, we can do with traditional paper and pencil (for the most part). What I’m just realizing now, as I’m typing this post, is that I need to let go of this incident. It has affected my attitude and outlook on using technology in the classroom. It’s not about me! It’s about the students!

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“Particularly for kids with newer technology and high-speed Internet at home, the Internet can provide access to an immense amount of information related to their particular interests, and it can support various forms of “geeking out”—an intense commitment to or engagement with media or technology, often one particular media property, genre, or type of technology.” (By the way, if you want to talk about “geeking out” check out this kid!)[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFlcqWQVVuU[/youtube]

This section of the reading made me have this thought: Fortunately, I am teaching at a school where there is high speed internet, and grades 3-5 are 1:1. K-2 has access to a fully functioning computer lab, as well as iPads to use as they wish. However, I was not always at a school like this. Before I decided to teach internationally, I was teaching at a public school in the US. The students who attend this school did not (and still do not) have the same privileges. Their parents do not have the monetary means to have high speed internet at home, nor do they have the means to have a computer PLUS something extra, like a tablet. My school in the US has a computer lab as well as a few laptop carts, but no tablets- and 600+ students are expected to share. For anyone out there who has experience in a 1:1 setting at a Title 1-esque school, I would love to hear how your district is making it work! I know there are grants and sites like donors choose, and even the library, but that’s not a guarantee of access. Anytime I hear or read about technology in the classroom, my thoughts always goes back to the schools who aren’t able to use these tools the way other schools can and do. But I digress, this doesn’t answer our question for this week at all.

“Rather than purely “consuming” knowledge produced by authorita-tive sources, geeked out engagement involves accessing as well as producing knowledge to contribute to the knowledge network.”

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I love this! This is how course 1 has started for me- with the idea of NOT being a consumer, but becoming engaged and contributing. I have these same expectations for my students. My husband attended an ISTE conference a few summers ago and has been geeking out about it ever since. I probably should have paid better attention when he was talking to me about it, because after looking at the ISTE student and teacher standards, I kind of understand his excitement. I have found the standards to be a great place to start when trying to [newly] embed technology into the curriculum. Surprisingly, I haven’t gotten that knot in my stomach that comes around when I’m looking at the Common Core and thinking about standards. This is where I actually start answering the question posed for us this week. These standards are great, especially for someone like me, coming at technology with the bias that I have. I can refer to these standards each time I’m planning a unit and use it as a guide, and checklist (which is something that I expect of my students to do, too!). I should lead by example!