RVS Guest Author: Tracey Sweetapple, Guidance Counsellor, Bert Church High School – I make no bones about it. I love being a teacher and decided on this career path in Kindergarten, but I remarked to a colleague recently that had I been exposed to mass media and technology the way youth today are, perhaps I might have chosen a different career path.
I did not state this lightly for despite my abiding commitment to education I truly am in awe at how technology can be accessed to provide unbelievable opportunities to learners. All that can be discovered, created, and shared on the World Wide Web ties us to an immense community with boundless potential. Considering I grew up in the ‘dark ages’ of the seventies and eighties without internet, email, or social media to guide me, I suppose I should consider myself lucky to have stumbled onto this great profession! I say this tongue in cheek, of course, because ultimately relationships yield a greater influence than technology, and my parents and teachers certainly played a key role in nurturing my decision to become an educator.
In today’s world, though, we as teachers and parents have the additional bonus of being able to mediate the technological world to provide the most remarkable experiential learning for children and youth. Take, for example, Lindsay Rous, science Tweacher at Bert Church High School who, by actively participating in various social media platforms, was invited by Let’s Talk Science to engage students with a truly authentic learning experience. Lindsay seized the opportunity and her grade nine classes were able to conduct and compare results of their radiation bubble experiments with Canadian astronaut and Tweeter extraordinaire Chris Hadfield. The ripple effect of Lindsay’s on-line connectedness was immense as over 1000 people in our school community gathered to participate in the live down link and learn from the Commander – an exceptional man whose genuineness and keen intellect shines through in print, image, and song.
For as much as technology is a powerful resource, people are the vital fuel on which it operates and allows for such amazing collaborations to occur. In the 21st Century a teacher’s influence truly knows no bounds.