One of the greatest things about technology, I think, is that it allows us to connect in ways that we have never connected before. With technology, we are able to make global connections that transcend space and time with the simple click of the button. For example, I recently discovered that my blog has been viewed by people all over the world.
Though I have never met any of these people, technology has allowed us to connect — whatever I wrote, they obviously had a interest in and decided to click on my blog. I think that’s pretty cool. And powerful.
Not only does technology enable us to connect with people from around the world, it actually encourages us to do so. The internet, being the public space that it is, encourages a culture of participation — that is, it invites us to constantly contribute, share, and give feedback to one another. Social media is a perfect example of this. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter invite us to document and share every aspect of our lives openly with the rest of the world, as well as follow the lives of others.
I can think of several ways that this culture of participation and connectedness might impact my future classroom. For one, students have access to almost anything and everything online. As a result, they may not be motivated to participate in the school. This puts an added responsibility on teachers to provide a level of learning that Google does not offer. This means creating and facilitating engaging lessons that foster vital life skills such as creativity, imagination, and critical thinking. Second, while technology has the ability to connect us in astounding ways to both knowledge and people, I think it is important for teachers to be aware that not all students have access to technology. This may have the effect of marginalizing some students academically (because of limited access to resources and knowledge bases) and socially (because so much social participation nowadays occurs online). Finally, the culture of participation and connectedness encourages us to share so much about our lives online that little is left private. In this sense, I think there is an element of responsibility for teachers to inform about online safety and to encourage students to be conscious of the information they put online in order to develop positive digital identities.