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{October 17, 2008}   Technofear?

Do you have it? I worry that maybe I do. I consider myself techno savvy, but then, if I need anything done I call me resident computer nerd and get him to do it. I have a phone, I’m connected to the net, and I feel nude without some techno gadget with me at all times. But this, sadly, does not mean that I’m techno savvy, but I have solved the other problem without a doubt – I DO NOT have technofear.

To me, technofear is not the worry that at that point in your day when you are about to do the presentation, all technology fails. To me, technofear is the absolute fear of technology. The belief that technology does not need to be used in the classroom. The fear that there is more technology in the world than is safe, and that students rely on it too heavily. The fear of letting students onto the computer, lest they click on the wrong thing and mess with your computer the way you like it.

These fears I do not have. I do have the fear that I am not aware of the decent technology out there, and I am depriving the students I teach. I have spent the past few weeks looking into the add-ons that Mozilla have to read your emails. I have been looking at speech into text software (and when I decide on what to use, and have a comprehensive list I will post them!) and how on Earth I can get non verbal students who would love to email their friends to use a computer effectively.

Technology needs to be embraced by teachers, and I was proud to hear of a first year out secondary teacher saying that he has offered the chance for a student to submit his assignment verbally on his I-Pod. Better than that, the student felt empowered enough to ask another teacher if he could do the same thing. Awesome. Getting hold of the technology is the next step though. I work in a school with no I-Pods, I am still looking for the microphones and worse – I need to figure out how the hell to get Vista to let me make the inbuilt voice recognition software work.

So here it is: I am a terrible speller, and it took me longer than most to *finally* get my writing style down pat. However, the important part is that I know this about myself. As such, I put the necessary things in place to combat said issues. I am concerned that I am not offering my students the technology that they need to be able to make the most of their lives and literacy skills. At least this means that I am actively exploring ways that I can improve, rather than ignoring all possibilities or worse – underestimating the students I teach in thinking that they can’t or won’t be interested in emailing, writing and communicating.

So – what makes me special? I believe that my students, the ones who have moderate to severe disabilities, some of whom are non-verbal, deserve and are interested in a chance to email other students. Now the challenge – how do I get a non-verbal student to show me what they want to communicate in an email? If you’ve got a clue… help a girl out!

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