So I’m reading through my RSS feeds on my Pulse app for the iPad and I came across this article from Gizmodo. I’m really not sure how to interpret it. At first glance it has some cute humor, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that it just perpetuated the gender stereotype that women are not good with computers or technology. I understand that the author may have a mother that is not tech-savvy, but I don’t think that it’s fair to say all mother are not tech-savvy, to say the least.
Growing up, I was told that I could be anything I wanted if I worked hard for it, that education was the key to my future, and that girls and boys were equal. My mom mowed the lawn, my dad did the dishes, and vice versa….it didn’t matter what sex you are, things needed to get done, even if society thought it to be “man’s work” or “woman’s work”. I graduated college with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and am now at women’s college, working on my Master of Arts in Teaching for special education. My classes consist of females, a good number who are mothers, and who are future-educators that are using technology with ease. My professors are female; they are highly educated and are in no way naive when it comes to using the computer. So, it makes me wonder, how fair is this article/cartoon? Is it really “funny”? Or is it an easy laugh, in which society is perpetuating an antiquated, and sexist stereotype?
My heart aches a little because I know that some people still believe that women cannot do as much as men, especially in the STEM fields. (For those of you who don’t know what STEM is, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Why do we have an over abundance of males in these majors in college, but few females? Are we sending messages to our girls that they are not skilled in these areas of academia? Even on the Gizmodo site, there are 16 males on staff, and only two females. What is going on here? Maybe, just maybe, society needs to stop and think about the things we publish that may be considered “humor”, especially when it encompasses gender stereotypes and one’s sex defining one’s ability.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” _Bill Gates
Bill is on to something here… I believe that we, as educators, have a responsibility to use technology as a teaching tool. We must first learn how to use it, then teach our students appropriate ways to use technology in their educational journey.
This quote is very telling to my current endeavors, as I have been working on an IWB (Interactive White Board) lesson for class. We recorded ourselves teaching the IWB lesson to several classmates and are now in the editing phase. It’s a (dare I say, painful) process to watch ourselves on video, but it’s a tremendous opportunity from which to grow. I am seeing how I teach, what I need to change, and what I like. I also am getting a “student’s view” of myself, how I express myself and explain lessons, as well as how I interact with the IWB. Through this experience I was able to download the SMART software on my laptop and dabble in IWB lessons. It’s a bit overwhelming at times because the SMART software seems to provide endless opportunities. I have only begun to learn how to operate and navigate this software, but I am excited to explore more and see what I can create. I look forward to the times in student teaching that I will be able to actively engage students in the lesson by using technology, and the IWB.
Times are changing and technology is transforming the classroom. So long are the days of endless worksheets, copying notes from the chalkboard or overhead projector, or going to the “computer” class elective to play “Oregon Trail”. The availability of technology in the classroom has replaced these antiquated ways of teaching and learning. With this digital evolution, I too must evolve in my own learning and teaching methods, and I feel that this class is a catalyst for such change.
So I have decided that I want to blog not only about my graduate course and technology but my evolution with it all. This thought began yesterday, when I was visiting good old Winston-Salem, NC (close to where I grew up). As I waited for a friend to arrive for our lunch date, I noticed myself checking my RSS feeds and blogs…and realized that I truly enjoyed blogs! It was interesting to see how in just a few short weeks ago (approximately three) I had gone from not knowing what RSS was to using one daily, not following or reading blogs except an occasional Pinterest one to now reading them several times a week, and struggling to keep up with the news to now hunting for new and useful teaching apps.
How did this change happen so quickly? Have I crossed over to another way of thinking about and using technology forever, or will I only maintain this attitude for the completion of this class? I wonder about these things, but only time will tell.
I have always thought it would be ‘cool’ (for lack of a better word) if I could maintain a resourceful teaching blog like this one: