I am frustrated.
Throughout my career in education, I have had those moments where I just felt someone wasn’t getting “it.” By someone, I mainly refer to administration. As a classroom teacher, I felt the pressures of doing more with less. I was asked to pick up the slack for colleagues who were not doing their fair share, and yet were given praise for a job well done. I struggled to finish the curriculum each year, despite time taken away for “extra” or “special” events that had little to do with my students, and were planned by others without regard to classroom plans that were already set. As a classroom teacher you have to be flexible. We all know that. Often this quality allows us to enhance our instruction, but sometimes it is needed to maintain your position as “one of the team.”
Now, I find myself in a very different position. My job title is technology coordinator, though after eight months I am still trying to figure out what exactly that entails. When I lobbied for the creation of the position, and my assignment to it, I had come up with a plan and partial job description. As the year has progressed, I find I am only sure of my responsibilities, outside of teaching a number of classes in the computer lab, by what I have been told I can’t do. This has contributed to my frustration, but it is not the primary cause of it.
My main frustration stems from my interactions with some of my colleagues. I have heard loud and clear what they don’t think they can do, but without even trying it. I often hear how it is impossible to add one more thing to their plates, when I, with the experience of a classroom teacher myself, have worked hard to focus on how our use of technology needs to be integrated. I’ve tried repeatedly to demonstrate how the use of technology can take what we are already doing and enhance its impact and meaning for our students. We need to open the world of technology up for our students and allow them to communicate, collaborate, think critically and creatively in a digital environment. The tools that are now available offer opportunities for our students that were not even dreamed of when I was in school. Continue reading
“Conventional wisdom holds that different people learn in different ways.
Something is missing from that idea, however, so we offer a corollary:
when presented with exactly the same information in exactly the same way,
will learn different things.
Most models of education and learning have almost no tolerance for this kind of thing.
As a result, teaching tends to focus on eliminating the source of the problem:
the student’s imagination.”
-John Seely Brown
If I had it to do all over again, and I had to power to do so, I would do things differently.
Last school year, a generous donor offered the funds to begin an iPad deployment in our lower school. The funds given were enough to purchase 40 iPads, two iPad carts, a MacBook Air for each cart, and $800 for app purchases. It was an exciting prospect for our lower school; a division that often feels left out when new technology purchases are made. These devices could have an enormous impact on our teaching, if they were deployed with a strong plan in place.
Technology in our Lower School
In February, I used this PowerPoint in a presentation for our school’s PFA. The focus of the evening was to familiarize parents with how our school is integrating technology across the divisions.
Today at VSTE 2012, we were treated to an inspirational and thought-provoking keynote address from Steve Dembo. I’m still processing what he said, and I hope to post on it in the future, but this I had to share.
Even as a newbie to the position of technology coordinator, I can relate to the events that are satirized here. Change can be very difficult for some, almost unbearable for others. I believe it goes back to my previous post. Having someone there to support you can make being a beginner feel okay.
“We, humans, now live in a time that is constantly changing and we need to be comfortable at being a beginner. We need to get to a point where we understand we’ll probably never master a technology again.
I don’t expect everyone to be like me, where I almost crave change, crave something new. I’m crazy like that (hence the changing jobs/countries/schools every 2 to 4 years). I see change as the future and I live for it.
But I know not everyone is that way…but everyone needs to be comfortable with being a beginner and once you allow yourself not to master things but instead learn things, you feel much better about technology and life in general.
So be comfortable being a beginner…that way you are always excited to learn something new.”
-Jeff Utecht “Being Comfortable Being a Beginner“
To me, this is a very comforting philosophy. Always being a beginner allows one to never feel as though they have reached the end of their journey. This is true in every aspect of our lives, and I truly embrace the notion when it comes to technology. We are in a constant state of flux. As soon as one feels confident they know everything there is to know about a device, an update comes along, and everything is new once again. Continue reading
How often have I sat in a PD session that felt as though it went nowhere? The “expert” obviously had little or no practical experience in a classroom, and they were able to follow the script of their presentation, but could add very little when questions were posed. These sessions so often feel like an exercise in just putting a check on a “To Do” list. Teachers given a professional development opportunity…check. Aside from one writing conference I attended many years ago, I cannot honestly remember the details from any of these. Continue reading