For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. It was halfway through preschool that I announced to my parents that teaching was my calling.
When I began teaching high school English, I fell in love with the work. It was everything I dreamt it would be. The relationships I built with my students were authentic and inspiring, collaborating with my colleagues energized me, and the opportunities seemed endless for what I could learn as an educator. As I explored more and more of these opportunities, I found my to-do list growing by the hour. How could I investigate new teaching methods, design innovative lessons, and differentiate for my students and their learning differences, all without working 24/7?
Technology was my answer. I needed to use the resources at my fingertips to be efficient, productive, and responsive to the individuality of every student in my classroom. I began exploring the world of educational technology to find resources that would help me bring the curriculum to life, provide responsive feedback to my students, and collect data without hours of grading. Using Google Classroom, I collect student work efficiently, without needing printouts of every classroom assignment. As I make digital comments on student work, they are able to see my feedback in real time and adjust their work as they go. Google Forms, Quizizz, and Kahoot! allow me to check for understanding without waiting until the end of class to give out an exit ticket. My formative assessments give me immediate answers about how my students are doing and this transforms my instruction to be truly responsive to student needs. Incorporating these online tools and others improved my teaching practice, but still, I knew there was more to discover.
Not only did the EdTechTeam Summit in Honolulu help me to uncover countless more resources, tools, and strategies, but it helped me to envision the future of my career in education. Listening to the keynote speakers, I could imagine my future in EdTech. I could envision transforming my classroom to be student-centered and audience-centered, working on projects to expand global opportunity, and collaborating with my colleagues in technology and education across the world. After sharing stories in our breakout sessions or over lunch, I felt a stronger connection to teachers all across the mainland and other countries. After the summit, as I traveled home to the Big Island, I reflected on shared common goals and interests all of us educators have, regardless of where we live and work. There is a deep desire to support and partner with each other. After the EdTechTeam summit, I have stronger bonds with teachers across Hawai‘i, California, Michigan, and Australia, and in this technology age, our collaboration knows no bounds.