LIMA — Education has seen its fair share of twists and turns. From the early one-bedroom schoolhouses to today’s sprawling campuses, classrooms and the teachers that run them have always had to shift to keep up with the times.
In the latest episode of Boom XYZ — a local podcast examining generational change — four teachers from across the region discussed how they’ve adapted to ever-changing digital technologies and expectations.
One of the bigger changes discussed revolved around information availability. Sally Windle, a retired art teacher from Lima Senior, said she could remember getting film reels from WBGU in her earlier days in the classroom, which was generally an exciting event for her students.
As the Internet has become more pervasive, however, videos have become more of an expectation.
“When I was finished in the classroom, technology was everyplace, and it’s even more sophisticated now,” Windle said. “I mean, it’s amazing to think that we had to load those reels onto the projector, and usually they would mess up because you got the jostling screen.”
“I think (technology) has kind of opened the door to looking at something, finding out something that they maybe wouldn’t have done before, ” Lima Senior Teacher Chrissie Hood said. “I think for me, and what I’ve seen throughout my teachingcareer, is that the smartphone generation is sold short a bit.”
“I say all the time I don’t know how my teachers ever taught without Google,” Allen County Juvenile Detention Center Teacher Elisha Wiss said.
She explained how when she jumped from being a high school teacher to a middle school one, students would ask her about things like shark teeth, which she didn’t know much about. Such a situation could be fixed with a Google search.
Technology has also helped even the playing field for some students that need a little extra help.
Spencerville Elementary Teacher Anna Thompson said her classroom has had a steep learning curve with the new pandemic teaching paradigms, but she has also seen benefits for some students who may not have excelled in a traditional classrooms as technology has been able to provide features like text-to-speech, or large print reading, on top of the regular teaching.
“I’m thinking mostly of those students that have troubles, you know, writing and all that. I mean my regular students will do fine too, but for me, I think it’s huge for those students that have special needs.”
Outside of technology, teachers have also been the center of the relationship between parents, students and school administrators. Some have changed more than others.
Windle said the expectation is that students have changed the most, but in her experience, that’s not what she’s seen.
“I think it’s pretty universal that it goes back to the old adage: ‘Kids are kids.’ And they want certain things. They come from different circumstances, and yes, we’re dealing with a lot more single parent homes. In our area, there’s a lot more poverty, but we still, in education, see those same kinds of trends like big trends and it’s pretty much the same,” Windle said.
The full episode and discussion can be found at limaohio.com, or on your favorite podcast streaming service.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.