Last Tuesday I had the amazing opportunity to sit on a panel at a local Microsoft event with Parade Magazine to chat about technology in education. I absolutely love my career and couldn’t imagine doing anything else – blogging and running my small businesses are added perks in my life. Ever since my dad bought our first family PC in 1997, I’ve been fascinated with technology. It amazes me to see the huge changes that have come in tech just in my lifetime thus far. From overhead projectors to SmartBoards to tablets and TVs – technology has made teaching even better.

But with all of these rapid changes in technology, is tech in education a good thing or a burden? This was the biggest question we faced during our event in Salt Lake City last week. Maggie Murphy, editor-in-chief of Parade Magazine, was the facilitator of our panel conversation. In our hour together, a lot was discussed, pondered, and learned.

One of the biggest issues being faced in education – as determined through our conversation, through my communication with other teachers, and seen in schools by tech specialists – is not knowing what to do with the devices schools buy for classroom use. As technology advances, schools are upgrading and just handing over the new devices to teachers and telling them to figure it out. Realistically, the issue here is that the devices that we’re provided with are school owned. Therefore they can only be used for educational purposes, which is great, but without direction on how to use these devices, teachers don’t know what to do with them. Microsoft Stores have tech teachers that will visit schools and teach teachers how to use the devices their school is using.

Another issue being faced by teachers is obtaining the technology they need in their classroom. Sure, schools are beginning to provide more and more tech like laptops and tablets in classrooms, but some teachers need listening centers {which can be created from an old smartphone or MP3 player} or eReaders for literacy centers. {These things can be donated to classrooms as a tax write-off.} Microsoft has a free way to earn Surface tablets for your school by using Bing search rewards. Every 500 points you earn can be donated to the school of your choice to earn them a Surface.

Overall, we can all agree that technology in education – both at school and at home – is something that can be a great resource, if we know how to utilize it to its full potential. Tomorrow I’ll be back with another post on Bing in the Classroom and Office – with tips on how to use these amazing resources!

Disclosure: I am a Windows Champions blogger and I received loan of a laptop and tablet, and may receive other equipment from Microsoft to assist me in evaluating Microsoft products and services for my blogging activity.