Monday, July 19, 2010

Why I Tech

(Editor's Note: No, I did not spell teach wrong in the title of the post. I'm using the shortened version of technology as a verb. The English teacher in me is freaking, but it feel it makes sense. Now, on with the post.)

I was talking to someone the other day and they were asking me questions about teaching and then they asked me why I'm so into technology. I proceeded to explain of all of the benefits tech has to offer to students and schools worldwide, but that wasn't the questions they asked. They wanted to know why I like technology. I just smiled and said I'm a Mac because of my Dad.

Family. The one thing I love about my PLN is that when we talk about our students, we often refer to them as our kids. We take a parental role in their lives in the classroom and we defend them as if they were are own. I think that is what makes teachers amazing. I've met many great people who I consider family over the past 6 months and I'm proud to be in the same field as them. Having said all of that, We get our passion for what we do from somewhere and mine comes from my Dad.

I'm a Mac. I'm proud to say this. I have an iPhone, iPod, iBook, iMac and iPad. It seems over the top, but if you are a Mac, you know exactly why I have all of these things. It's not my fault though. It's my Dad's fault. When I was young, my Dad came to me and my brothers and asked if we would be willing to trade that years Christmas presents for a computer. My older brother and I were geeked! We thought about all of the hours we could spend dying of dysentery on the Oregon Trail. My younger brother was skeptical and said no way. Well, we got the computer and he got the toys. To this day I'm annoyed he got to play with the computer. Anyway, we just didn't get a computer, we got a Macintosh. I'll remember my Dad's words until the day I die. He said, "Nick, get used to using these because they are the future." Man, was he right.

He set up a program where I could record the daily rainfall and it would figure everything out after a year of entering in data. Even today, that is a really lame use of a Mac to me, but it was something that blew my mind. I could type up assignments and turn them into the teacher. This was huge for me because my handwriting was terrible! There was this weird betting Dove Race game that we would play. Although it was not educational, it was fun to watch birds fly across the screen. The computer even talked to you if you ran the right program. I quickly became comfortable using the Mac because my Dad told me it was important. I would use the computer as much as I could. I even stopped playing Contra to fool around with the computer. I couldn't help it. I was hooked the moment I say that smiling computer on the start up screen. It truly was an amazing device and my Dad's tech influence did not stop there.

I remember when we got the Internet. We had Prodigy. I would sit in his office and log into our newer Mac and access the Prodigy Network to play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? He encouraged us to use the Internet to look things up and to have fun with it. I stayed away from chat rooms and had no idea what email was all about, but I was pretty good at surfing the net at dial-up speed. By the time I got to college, I was a pro at using AOL and had two email addresses. I felt good about being a tech guy. College was going to be a breeze because I knew how to surf the web and find information. My school also had a Mac Lab. :-)

When it came to deciding my major, many family members said I should go into business and that teachers do not make any money. My Dad told me to do what I want, but strive to be the best. I feel that is what I'm doing by trying to infuse tech into my class and constantly trying to learn new things to bring to my school or district. I could have stopped exploring tech after getting to college. I could have been happy with easy searches for information. My mastery of Word was solid and that is all any teacher really needed at the time. I guess I knew that there was always more out there. I knew that I didn't have all of the answers and that someone else in cyberspace might have a better idea. I wanted to keep learning and tech was a way for me to continue to grow.

My Dad has always been supportive of my decision to be a teacher. I strive to be the best teacher every day of my life. I know that I do make a difference, in part, because of my Dad.

Dad, you are the reason I tech.

What is the reason you tech? Have you ever told this person? Write a similar post or leave a comment here. We all have a reason. Maybe it's time to let them know.