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Technology, Education & Latinx Learning

Being that our children are learning on and off from home, this forces us to think different and create new ways to educate them.

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!Mira Mi Gente!

Let’s discuss Technology, Education and Latinx Learning. Being that our children are learning on and off from home, this forces us to think different and create new ways to educate them (and not think of opening the refrigerator). This is an opportunity to reflect on and improve the ways that we educate our children. This edition's silver lining is in the form of a question.

Should Our Public School System Incorporate More Technology Into The Curriculum?

Remember a time when we had to make sure the encyclopedia collection was up to date? ¿Encylo que?Today through a google search students have access to EVERY single encyclopedia ever written. But, they also have access to EVERY single cat video (ay quecute) and other dark web topics (ay que feo). So what can we learn from having access to both extremes? Balance... and a way to find middle ground.

The New York City public school system is 41% Latinx and 26% African American (New York CityCouncil). People of Color should have a say on ways to incorporate more technology for the benefit of our school children. So put down the Baby Yoda meme maker, consider the ways your learning experience could have been different through today's technology and then send me your new meme.

I am not an educator and I do not speak on things I do not know. Even though when I was growing up my abuelo nicknamed me ¿Y qué más sabes? (the family friendly version). This was because I thought I knew everything. So this time I asked experienced educators¿Y qué más sabes? - and what else do you know?

By: Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz Rodriguez

When I want to understand something or get a new perspective on a topic many times I turn to TED talks. I can’t count the number of times I’ve shown a Crash Course History video to my students to help them catch up on historical events that they’ve never learned about or have forgotten. When I have a long commute, I turn toIsabel Allende on audio book to break the monotony - and actually look forward to those drives. And, as I participate in virtual conferences, give FacebookLive talks, watch Instagram concerts and listen to Podcasts during the pandemic, I feel less lonely and more connected.

Full disclosure: I’m an author. Not only do I want but I need people to buy books. My books in particular but I actively promote book buying in general. However, before identifying myself an author I’m an educator. And I realize and embrace the fact that there are many ways to learn and that we all learn differently. Also,I know that when I teach using different materials and learning styles I reinforce the information so that you learn more and better understand the subject.

I’m currently learning how to draw using Sketchbook on my IPad. I’m figuring out how to use Canva to promote programs and projects. And, I’m figuring out how to send my producer footage that I shoot 500 miles away from him. Together, we’re making short films, about my books, to share with children and adults to celebrate literacy and literature. Technology is here to help, not hurt us. The challenge is for us to learn how to use it.
By: Ms. Annalise

After five straight hours sitting on my couch, trying to think of new ways to provide meaningful content for a class of 25 students through remote learning, I can’t help but think of what education will look like when the quarantine is all said and done.

As we are living in “the age of technology” and through la cuarentena, many questions are buzzing in education. How do we prepare these young minds for living, and working in the 21st century?

I feel a rollercoaster of emotions as I try to navigate teaching through this difficult time.Is this student getting enough individualized attention? When will I be able to see their smiling faces again? Does this student have Wi-Fi service? Did this student master this concept? When will I be back to smell fresh Crayola crayons and Elmer's glue?

Lately, the highlight of my days have been live lessons, where I can see all my students’ faces. While this gives students the opportunity to see each other, there are factors that prevent students from participating in these live video sessions. Such as a poor Wi-Fi connection, a sibling already using the computer, or even a noisy household. While these factors have been difficult to continue on with remote learning, there are some positive outcomes.

More helpful resources are available to implement in my classroom. Students that normally have difficulty staying engaged, are now showing signs of engagement because these platforms are fun, interactive, and visually appealing. They are gaining valuable practice in various skills such as numeracy, reading fluency, phonemic awareness, and creativity. Technology has a growing presence in our daily life. We are living in a time when most things are virtual. We see it in the supermarket at self checkouts, when we call customer service, when we order food to be delivered, or even shopping for essentials.

Of course, personal and live interactions take precedence in learning because we are a social race that craves interaction. If you think about kindergarten, most of the social emotional goals are catered to live interactions with their peers.

However, using remote learning during this pandemic has revealed how necessary it is for us as educators to also use technology within our classrooms. While social interaction is valuable, we cannot ignore the direction the world is going in.That direction is technology but the key here is balance.

When I think of what education will look like after la cuarentena, I envision classrooms of all grades filled with technology. Laptops, IPads, Chrome Books being used and not stored away in a “computer room” to collect dust. Teachers being trained how to incorporate technology into classrooms and being given a curriculum that lends itself opportunities to use technology. Families being supported through technology based workshops that provide parents with the skills they need to use technology at home with their child.

"Families and Schools are the bridge to a child’s success. There needs to be a healthy balance of technology inside and outside of the classroom to support learning and prepare students for the world around us."

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