Just before the CEGSA conference, I sent off for my new business cards. Of course, typically i guess, they didn’t arrive until half way through the second day. That meant I had an opportunity to get rid of the last few remaining cards. Cards I had printed about 18 months ago. What’s most interesting for me is how those business cards have changed, very subtly over the last 18 months. They reflect a change in both technology and in my thinking on technology’s place in the classroom.
The Website’s Address
It’s interesting how over the last 18 months or so the www. has disappeared from most website links…. It’s also gone from my card. It just says “teachertechnologies.com” these days. Thanks browsers! You’ve added the rest for me
The QR Code
In the last 18 months QR codes have become an increasingly important tool for me. I now work with teachers with iPads and smart phones. Teachers who want instant access to the digital content I provide without the need to type the address in (even without the www bit). So, now there’s a QR code right on the front of my card.
Twitter and Facebook
My original card had the following for Twitter: “http://twitter.com/TeacherTechnol” – CRIPES! What a long link! I had no Facebook group. It now looks like this:
Why? Because, I am more confident that I now work with a network of teachers who will be able to understand that the ‘@’ before a name = Twitter. Even 18 months ago I couldn’t confidently say that.
Losing the ‘British Bits’
I’ve removed my hard earned accolade of “outstanding Teacher” because, in Adelaide, it very much feels like it has NO cultural context at all. Maybe in the next printing round I can add AITSL – Lead Teacher instead? Now that would be better
How I describe myself.
This is perhaps the most significant change for me, personally. It reflects a shift in my core beliefs about education and technology. I knew I had to change it… and it took me a long time to work our what to put!
On my old card, I describe myself as an “Education Technology Specialist”. However, having spent the last 12 months working with Punya Mishra and Matt Koehler’s work (The TPACK Framework), having listened and learned from them, I have actually come to believe them when they say that there’s no such thing as Education Technology (or EDTECH). In fact, I would go as far as to say, I believe the term “edtech” can actually have some very negative connotations to it.
Somehow, if we present a technology as an educational technology we make assumptions. I have seen evidence of teachers assuming that if they buy an IWB, an iPad, a new laptop (etc) and they put it into their classroom it will automatically have a positive effect. The reality is that IWBs are often used to watch videos, show Power Point and to write on and not for their true purpose…. interaction by students in a pupil lead learning environment. iPads are filled with apps which don’t require very deep learning or thinking skills. Just because they were in the Education store does not mean they are actually going to have a positive impact on learning. Laptops are used for typing up and surfing… the world of web2.0 and other exciting tools are ignored… Why? Because we don’t stop and consider what these technologies can offer. We just assume that we do what we always did, with this new tool and that somehow that will be better than our original tool set.
The other negative impact that the idea of Edtech has, is that it limits innovations. Some of the best apps for use in the classroom are NOT found in the education store conveniently labeled as “maths”. There’s the possibility that we will end up ignoring some technologies which would be far more beneficial. Technologies that we can re purpose, for a learning purpose, and have a real impact.
Now, you know that I DO NOT believe that IWBs are a waste of money, that they are teacher centric or that they are out dated. I believe them to be an incredibly powerful tool. I know they are, they’ve had a massive impact on students I have worked with in the past. However, I don’t use my IWB like I would a whiteboard or an OHP. I use it very differently. I spent years re purposing both my teaching and the technology to ensure that it brought something to my classroom. That’s why I change how I describe myself
My new card now says “Re-purposing technology to Enhance Learning and Teaching in the Classroom”.
That’s what I do and, I believe, it’s what I’ve been teaching others to do for years. I’ve jumped off the “Edtech” bandwagon… Having said that, my new description would make a very bad hashtag! #edtech is much easier.
Have a look at Punya in action ( 9 Mins in he really gets going on Re-purposing
All in all, the redesigning process has been a reflective one. I am fascinated by how much has changed for me! It’s all GOOD Do you think your business card will have changed too?