Opening Doors & Hallways

I was asked recently to pull together thoughts as to why I am so passionate about studying technology. I am a digital native, though at my age someone might confuse me for a digital immigrant. I learned math facts playing Math Blaster on my IBM computer (which was a HUGE box).

I learned how to go back and forth between a MAC and a PC when I was ten. Most of my papers in middle school and high school were typed, and I used a dot matrix printer to print out my work. Being able to type my work inspired me to work harder and create more effective pieces as it was easier to draft out work this way. Cut and paste was revolutionary in a word processor. Gone were the messy rough drafts! By the time I headed off to college I was using a Mac and was one of nine people in a dorm with a computer. We used a rotary phone to register for classes and a year later that was replaced by the web as a tool to register right from the dorm room. Technology has changed our world and my life at a rapid pace. I am constantly keeping up yet still feel behind. I started to figure out over time that I was preparing myself, using the current tools, for a world where things I could not even imagine were going to be created. If I could do math facts at a young age on a software program with a joy stick I could teach kids later on how to use a device with a touch screen to practice facts. Technology motivated me to try new things and put in the extra effort because I had an avenue to create. My senior year at UVM I created an electronic portfolio using Hyperstudio. I remember handing the CD-Rom to an interview team at the school I currently work at, and they eagerly wanted to know what it was. When I told them, jaws dropped as they had never been given a whole portfolio before on a disk. I was told after I left they ran to open it up, but had no idea how to, and hired me anyways. Years later I found a bug in Hyperstudio going back and forth between a MAC and PC and emailed the help line for the software. I ended up connecting with the developer himself and now work with him to share projects using his software. I even met him this past June!

Technology has always motivated me to achieve at a higher level and I have seen the same in my students each year. My personal experiences have shown me that the doors technology opens for all learners in the variety of curriculums they are exposed to is endless. I am excited for this fall’s MassCUE conference as that is when hallways open for me!


About the Author: Rayna Freedman is beginning her 15th year at the Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, MA. She has taught grades 3-5 and is an ITS. She is also embarking on her doctorate through Northeastern as she hopes to change the field of education some day. Rayna is a member of the MassCUE Board of Directors.

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