© 2017 by James Kieft

Technology as an enabler

 

On a wintry and cold day in February, I was very fortunate enough to attend the House of Lords for the reveal of the inaugural Edtech 50 list. The Edtech 50 list was compiled from public votes and the judges insight by JISC and The Education foundation, it highlighted the work of people, projects and products that are shaping the Edtech sector in the UK.

 

I was very fortunate to be included in the list for the work I do in reviewing Edtech tools for my blog and Youtube channel. As my blog enters its 5th year I thought it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on my own Edtech journey.

 

Being dyslexic reading and writing at school was hard work, as it would take me longer to read a piece of writing with understanding and getting my thoughts from my head onto the paper.  This had a huge effect on my confidence when it came to communicating.

 

However over the years I have developed ways of working that help. My first memory of using technology as an enabler was whilst studying at College, I would make use of a speech to text tool, it took quite a bit of patience as the tool had to learn how I spoke, but it certainly helped me to speed up my writing.

 

When I moved into teaching, I was always looking for ways I could utilse technology as a way of avoiding having to write on the board for fear spelling words incorrectly. I also explored the use of podcasts as a way of providing students with summaries of the lessons, and this spilled over into providing audio feedback to students as part of assessment.  

 

Another side effect of my dyslexia is that my short term memory is very poor, so I am always relying on to do lists, more recently I make use of tools such as Google Keep and Microsoft planner.

 

So when the opportunity arose to take on a dedicated role focused on Education technology, I jumped at the chance. As part of that role I was always finding useful edtech tools, to start with I just wrote them down as a list. Then a colleague suggested I blog about the edtech tools I found.

 

My initial posts were very short as I still didn’t feel confident in my writing, but as time has gone on and with positive feedback from colleagues and peers the posts have got longer and despite my initial reservations I now enjoy writing my reviews.

 

The positive feedback from colleagues encouraged me to share my posts through social media and this enabled me to grow to my personal learning network and also made it easier to keep up to date with the release of new edtech tools. I would certainly encourage others to blog and make use of social media, as it has certainly helped me to grow my confidence, whilst also having the added benefit of developing my writing skills. And connections I have made through my use of social media have really helped to develop my practice.