I have been a dog owner all of my life, or as the dogs see it … a member of the pack. All of the chewed shoes and couch corners aside, I find myself saying, “Good Dog!” every day but … what defines a “good" dog? Are all dogs good? Is it just something I say or are they really good?
This week I had to do one of the saddest things but also one of the most honorable things in the life of a dog owner. I had to “put to sleep” my fourteen year old Australian sheep dog, Jewlz. I miss her, but to make her struggle to walk one more day would have been cruel. In her life, she loved to swim in our pool, run and run, herd flies and bees and follow my wife around everywhere she went. She really was a good dog.
As I think about this, Jewlz was a good dog to us because of the value that she added to our lives. She wasn’t just some dog … she was energetic, fun, loyal, sweet and yes always smelled kind of funky but she made our family better. in my new role as a technology steward, I see academic technology in this same way. The tech tools of the day are neither inherently good or bad, it really comes down to the effect they have on our teaching and learning. It is in finding that strategic fit for our specific communities of practice that makes these tools “good.”
This summer, I will begin to offer new academic technology support for faculty. I have always been a resource for teachers, but now will look to strategically assist and support college faculty innovation in and out of the classroom. We all seem to appreciate new tech toys but need to look closest at what pedagogical goals can be supported by leveraging mobile media technologies. The “good” that technology can bring is to add value to a student learning experience by connecting their academic journey with the way they learn and communicate in their daily lives.
It has been almost a week now since I had to say goodbye to my dog. If I had any questions before if she was a good dog, I now know for sure as I miss the things she added to my life. My other dogs (yes I still have two) go about their lives, but do sniff around every once in awhile looking for their sister. In the same way, the technology that we adopt should make a unique difference in the work we do to encourage the dreamer in 21st century students. Jewlz was a beautiful and smart little dog that lived a wonderful life, running on the beach, swimming in the pool and loving a family as only a good dog can. She was a good dog.