David recently asked us how we use technology in the classroom. I would have answered but the question stressed me out. I am not far from being a philosophical Luddite and yet I use technology quite a bit in my home. I even get excited whenever I hear about new technology. I firmly believe you could get a great education with just books alone, books and nature, and I often feel we would be far better off if our options were limited and yet technology has been a huge blessing in educating my children.
Last month I had the-cold-that-never-ends which might have been labeled bronchitis if you could have dragged me to a doctor. I was able, on short notice, to find audio versions of most of the books we are reading aloud without spending any money. In the past I would have had to call Morning Time off until I recovered but technology allowed us to go on in spite of my raspy voice.
Our reading of Shakespeare has recently been enhanced by hooking the laptop to the television. I put the Arkangel audio CD of Henry VIII in the laptop and went to a webpage with the text of the play. It was very easy for all of us to watch the text on the larger screen while listening to the production using the TV’s better audio.
This opened a whole new world for us as I realized we could stream everything from the laptop to the TV. We can listen to Bach’s Motets while looking at streaming slideshows of Rembrandt’s paintings throughout the day (although it would take more work to do this without the nudes which has caused some giggling and averted eyes in my house).
This one trick of hooking the laptop to the TV has even made those elusive Teaching Company lectures more readily accessible to all of us and we have enjoyed The Secrets of Mental Math, Skywatching, and How to Listen and Understand Great Music on our television.
In one of the weirder moments of my homeschooling career, my son Andrew said, “How to Read a Book is enjoyable.” Andrew is my eighth student to read at least part of that book and I would have thought you would end that sentence with “said no one ever”, but Andrew is my first student to use the Audible version of the book.
I have stressed over when and where and with whom to use audiobooks but then I noticed I often couldn’t remember which books I had listened to on audio and which books I had read via the physical book. I also thought about how before there was reading there was listening (Homer) and watching (Sophocles).
These are just a few of the ways I use technology. My iPhone is a key component in our Morning Time as I can Google a poem faster than I can find it in my handy notebook and it helps to hear the tune of a hymn before you sing that first note. Technology has helped me broaden the horizons of our Morning Time and while I love it, I also worry about it. I will certainly start worrying when I am tempted to take the boys on a streaming nature walk which is possible via Amazon Prime screensaver videos. I know because I had my devotions one day while snow fell softly on the TV.