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August 15, 2011 / Rabbi Meir Wexler

The End of the Beginning

An entire universe of knowledge has been opened for me. Frankly I may have known it existed and just didn’t see the value in it. Now I don’t understand how students can learn to their full potential without technology. I constantly find myself thinking about web 2.0 tools, blogs and wikis and how I can apply them or help educators apply them to their classrooms and beyond. I see how the world has changed through technology and how schools are changing as well.

 I recognize that at the heart of education, schools need to have excellent educators guiding the students. However with 21st century technology in play the role of teacher truly has shifted from lecturer and deliverer of content to guided facilitator, engager and moderator of content. I recognize that schools can have all the gadgets and web 2.0 tools in the world but that won’t improve student learning unless educators know how to infuse these technologies in the classroom to enable student to be effectively engaged with these technologies. There needs to be a healthy balance between educator and student and technology and student. At the same time a teacher must truly be an educator. One who is both a skilled educator and confident in technology will add real harmony to the classroom.

 I never truly appreciated what 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds meant until I enrolled in our Ed. Tech. courses.  Without proper navigation and continual professional development through a Personal Learning Network one one can get lost in the sea of tech. as it continues to rapidly excel. I have come to realize how one can learn to be proficient in technology by learning through the medium of technology. I also feel a different part of my brain has been engaged and has transformed how I view education for the next generation of learners.

I am now at a point where although I was not born a ‘digital native’ I do feel confident enough in my Ed. Tech abilities to infuse these abilities into the classroom and school. Whether its Skyping with Jewish people from Romania and Austria (coming soon!) to learn about Jewish life and culture to blogging with students half across the country- The digital landscape is endless- and I have all the paint I need on my web 2.0 palette. Now in terms of the as yet undefined ‘Web 3.0’- My sleeves are already rolled up and I’m ready to dive in.

On a personal note I want to thank Dr. Eliezer Jones, Mrs. Adina Poupko, Dr. Scott Goldberg, my peers and colleagues, the YU Institute for University-School Partnership and the Jim Joseph Foundation. You all made Our Ed. Tech program fabulous! I look forward to being a part the YU Institute for University-School Partnership’s inaugural cohort in the Online Masters Degrees in Education Technology- Just give me the word 🙂

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