I was asked to attend an educational technology conference for my school this past weekend and realized that I have unofficially become my school's technology guru. This comes somewhat as a surprise to me, since I feel I am constantly asking the other technical people questions and feeling unsatisfied with the answers.
In any case, the technology conference was great and as usual I came home feeling more energized about teaching. One of the presenters was from UNC Wilmington and in addition to his excellent presentation, he provided all attendees with a disk full of digital, editable games that he created. He gave these to everyone free of charge. I was so impressed with this guy. Almost every presenter was trying to sell programs or other software. While the programs were great (I actually downloaded a free trial to use in my Gospel Doctrine Lesson), I was frustrated at the high cost of educational software. The high cost made it virtually impossible for teachers to purchase the programs. Only school systems might be able to afford their prices. Is it any wonder that so many schools have inadequate technology?
Unfortunately, many of the programs are highly effective tools for teaching. Of course, it's important to let technology enhance the lesson and not build the lesson around technology. The program I used today helped me visually switch between outline, pictures and scriptures to enable me to make maximum use of the lesson time. My stake president spoke with me afterward and wanted to know all about how the program worked and to comment on how effective and engaging the lesson was. Others commented on the same thing. Probably the best example of using technology is blowing up the Bible maps from the church web site and using them in Powerpoint. Since the maps have recently changed, and maps are important in the Old Testament, it was causing a lot of confusion.
Of course, high school students know almost every technological program out there and if they don't they become experts about two seconds after you show them how it works. They certainly keep me on my toes. Despite the unattainability of many programs, I am grateful to live in a time where technology can assist us to teach better and can help students to learn better.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Well, it has been three and a half years and we finally submitted Juan Carlos' dissertation to the graduate school today, so he is officially Dr. Martín! We have enjoyed North Carolina so much and we are hoping for a way to stay right here, but of course we have to go where the jobs are. But back to the dissertation!!! Juan Carlos gets a little hysterical when he is trying to deal with the more complicated functions of Microsoft Word, so as he was trying to format his dissertation for publication I had to step in to prevent him from throwing his computer out the window. Working with his manuscript was a real eye-opener for me. Just seeing the work he had to do to format the thing was enough to deter me from wanting to start a PhD program. Juan Carlos has worked so hard in this program and as I formatted the 229 pages for publication I realized just how much work he put into the dissertation. It is one thing to hear about what he is writing about and quite another to read through it as a complete work. I realize yet again how extraordinary Juan Carlos is and how lucky I am to be married to such a mover and a shaker.