Wednesday, 30 September 2015

My journey over time - Part 1 - Technology

I have been thinking about how my teaching has changed, and how things are so different now from when I started teaching in 1988. 27 years later and classrooms look very different. I thought I'd take a few aspects and reflect on how things have changed for me and my students.

Part One - Technology
My start at Teacher's College included learning to use tape decks and Gestetner machines, and although I was well versed in Music technology, there was very little computing happening in schools. My first school had an Apple IIe which we had in the Music office and I learnt to use Finale - a powerful piece of music software at the time. Jump forward to now and I am using Staff Pad on a Surface Pro.
Students rarely had access to computers at home and we certainly didn't use them in the classroom. Research was done in the library and through textbooks we scrimped and saved our budgets for. At my second school in the 90s we had a computer to do audio recordings on, as well as the office computer, but nothing in the classroom.

After a break in my teaching in schools to lecture at Uni, I came back to a high school just getting a brand new department, where I had the opportunity to have a computer lab. I managed to get a grant to fill this lab with Macs and have our own server so we could keep large files. Running Garageband and Sibelius and Practica Musica, this covered a good range of activities and we used the lab frequently with all classes. This then extended to a Recording studio and yet another Mac. Students were starting to get the hang of working with computers for music, although the majority in this low decile school did not have them at home. Any other work done on them was around research and typing, with very little else. Students saved work on the server and occasionally a pen drive was seen.

Another short break to lecture at Uni and then I arrived in the school I am in now. Here is a whole different ball game. I have learnt so much about technology and e-learning and change that I am excited about where things will lead us. Having slowly moved away from teaching Music and more into the Technology sphere, I realise how much more we can do. Students have BYOD, we store things in the Cloud, we communicate with students via Facebook and Twitter, and there are so many ways to collaborate and expand our minds. My goal has been to transform my teaching with technology and I have to acknowledge Andy Gorton, who is our Director of ICT, without whom I wouldn't have had my eyes opened anywhere near as far.
The SAMR model is one I have been looking at and making sure I redefine the technology in order to transform my teaching.

I read a great article yesterday titled "Three Ways to Improve Technology Assisted Learning" where it talks about mindset before resources. I believe many staff struggle with getting away from anything but substitution because their mindset is still at that level. I always used the "f" word in my teaching - Flexibility - and that goes for technology as well. Thinking outside the square, and outside the circle, just think outside and be flexible - students can teach us so much.

We have looked at Augmented Reality and I have played with Aurasma  which I would love to do more with. I have been designing Digital Badges which I believe are going to only get bigger and more important as we increase our digital skills. What's next?

So many amazing things are being done in classes - I am loving learning.


  1. I have been researching and using some mindset strategies in class for about a year and I'm looking forward to reading the article you refer to after my boys have gone to bed. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Hi Sue, three posts in a short time is fabulous. I really enjoyed reading how your take on how digital technology has changed in education over your career. Great work.

    1. Thanks - I'm enjoying having time to write - not sure how that will fit in once I get back to school. Love the holidays for time to learn new things.

  3. good stuff Sue. I'm sure your blog journey will get more momentum than my sporadic attempts over the years!

    1. Thanks Andy - keen to keep this up, just not sure how much time I will have once school goes back. Maybe it will just be a holiday thing!