My name is Katy Foster and I live in Mill Valley, California with my husband Michael and sons, Charlie (11) and Joe (8). I love hiking, hanging out at the beach, swimming and otherwise enjoying the beautiful Northern California coast. The picture above is my sister and me (I’m the one without the striped scarf) on a hike to Muir Beach on January 9.
Currently I work as an Assistant Principal at Drake High School in San Anselmo, California, a small, affluent suburb 15 miles north of San Francisco. I am in the middle of my second year in this District, having spent my entire previous educational career – first as a social studies teacher and then as an Assistant Principal – in San Francisco Unified School District. I am definitely still experiencing the culture shock of moving from a large urban district to a small suburban district, and all of the “savage inequalities” that I see every day.
Through my years as a teacher I have utilized various aspects of technology, but in general have used it to enhance traditional teaching methods (such as creating PowerPoint presentations for lectures). I have never systematically investigated all of the ways in which technology can complement traditional instruction and I have never taught with technology through the lens of helping students develop skills and work habits that they will need for the digital age, other than the traditional Microsoft Office software.
Although my current District has many resources and access to technology that I did not see in San Francisco, there has been little change and innovation in instructional practices using technology. While many teachers are up to date on the content of their specific disciplines, very few utilize technology in ways other than blackboard enhancement of traditional pedagogy. I found this to be true in San Francisco as well, where a few early adopters were using some web 2.0 applications such as Moodle, blogging and wiki spaces, but most were creating PowerPoint presentations with series of slides that contained bullet points that more or less recreated the typed notes page.
The study of technology and education excites me for many reasons. For one, it can be a great equalizer. As long as traditionally under served kids can be given access to a computer, they can be given access to new opportunities. With the new, less expensive means of connecting through mobile devices, netbooks and iPads, this is becoming more and more likely. In addition, the global perspective that necessarily comes with online interactions excites me. Students connect internationally with people, content, news and information more and more easily, and can therefore not remain isolated. Finally, I am looking forward to studying and learning about how to meet students where they are with technology and helping them access and responsibly use the technology tools and expertise they will need beyond high school.
I do have fear in studying technology and education as well. I know that I am behind the times in terms of my knowledge and skills – in particular I do not know the terminology and vocabulary necessary to get around easily. For example, although I can make a guess, I don’t know exactly what it means to “ping” to a blog, and I know that it will take me extra time and effort to learn these things. I also do not know my way around hardware and operating systems well enough to trouble shoot very successfully in anything beyond a rudimentary way. I am excited to learn about all of this, but I know it will take extra time and effort on my part.
I’m looking forward to starting the CTER program with the EPSY 457 course and am looking forward to learning and interacting with my fellow students and professors.