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Inside Teaching : June 2011
Inside Teaching | June 2011 10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED 28 MARTIN JORGENSEN has learned plenty as a teacher, but also from his previous careers, that guides his everyday practice as a teacher, but especially his use of technology with students. We never really change careers; everything we’ve done in our past informs our future. My past careers in content management, design and professional writing have helped to define my practice as a teacher. When invited to write this, it occurred to me how strongly my past careers have influenced the 10 things that follow – things that guide me as a teacher and guide my use of technology with students. There’s a vast array of resources online, so much information, and so many ways to contribute to it, that it can be overwhelming. Technology in the classroom doesn’t have to be complex however, nor should it complicate our efforts to reach the outcomes we’re striving for with our students. Encouraging core skills that allow students to better engage with communities online, create and critique content, and identify the right tools can make a significant difference. 1COMMUNITY The media often presents the internet as a place of scandal, danger and misinformation, and of course this is true, just as it’s true that the internet is, more significantly, a place built by people, for people. It’s a place things I’ve learned as a teacher 10 built on connectedness and community. By becoming involved in online communities, students are empowered to see value in their participation. They expand their sense of what community means, and establish stronger ties in their own neighbourhoods. By contributing to the development of a community online, students are given a sense of ownership and responsibility. They are also given a significant appreciation for the notion of the permanency and reliability of information online. Helping students become part of a collective online also encourages empathy. When you encourage empathy in students in their dealings online, they move from being merely observers to valued participants in that community. 2SHARING To be part of a successful community online, to participate in it and learn from it, requires sharing of knowledge, opinions and experiences. There are numerous proverbs that tell us that what we give is returned to us tenfold. The more we contribute, the more that is returned when we need support ourselves. It’s not enough simply to encourage this belief in our students; we need to model this principle. For this reason, all resources I develop for my