Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This Little Piggy Went to the App Store

This little teacher went to the Apple Store.  This little teacher stayed in her classroom.  This little used lots of technology.  This little teacher used none.  This little teacher went wah wah wah all the way home.

photo by edenpictures

Which little teacher are you?  Which little teacher do you want to be?  These aren’t all the little teachers out there, just the number of toes on one foot!  There are many many more types of teachers out there.  In today’s world there can’t be much talk about teachers without the word technology popping its name up.  So how important is technology and when integrating technology what’s really important?

Over the past year I have had the wonderful opportunity to oversee a few classrooms in our district where each student had access to a device provided by the district.  Some had laptops, some had tablets.  The teachers and I were truly excited about the opportunity for each kid to have a device.  We spent hours in the summer exploring the devices, exploring classroom management of the devices, and also exploring new ways to teach.

What’s the most important feature in their classroom?  In our field, Instructional Technology, we often look at the technology and train teachers on the technology.  With these classrooms we tried something a little different.  We looked at pedagogy!  Although, curriculum is the place to start these teachers had just spent much of their time with the new Common Core and Essential Standards.  They had the content knowledge.  

Pedagogy!!!!  That was the place to start.  Or was it?  We have stressed and  evaluated over the year our different lessons and looked for ways to improve.  Many of the teachers in the pilot have shifted from front of the classroom teaching to more authentic learning using PBL or a similar methodology.  There have been many great successes in student learning and each teacher has grown tremendously in making their classroom more authentic.  This change has led their technology implementation rather than the technology taking the lead.

But is this really the most important piece?  In a recent blog post I expressed how important listening, reflecting and understanding human needs are.  In my opinion, there is no piece of technology that can replace this critical piece.  Relationships are most important when motivating anyone about anything.  So with that, positive relationships and building trust in the community should come first when it comes to technology integration in the curriculum.  We must take this time!

It is the critical first piece that we often times neglect.  Sometimes we get so busy and hear the buzzwords technology yada yada that we forget the persons behind the technology integration.   What if we first turned off the buzzing so that we could truly connect with the important people that could make this integration truly happen?

Photo by: Cindy Andrie
The revelations from this past weekend and the experiences I had come at a perfect time.  Our district is moving to a Mobile Learning Community (MLC) environment.  This is similar to many district’s initiatives of BYOD or BYOT.  With the movement of students bringing in their own devices there are many questions that arise.  What if kids text during class?  What if they are on different websites than the one I directed?  The list of what ifs could go on and on and on.  

In thinking about these questions my big “what if” is, What if we build positive relationships with trust, respect, communication and forgiveness with our teachers and students?  With these attributes, many of the questions and concerns that we have will fade away.  Many of the issues we think we will have or have had in the past will simply become non-existent.  Relationships are hard work but when cultivated and tended with care, the results could be plentiful and exciting.  

Just imagine a world where teachers and students go wee wee wee (with excitement) all the way to school and all the way home.  

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