There's technology in my classroom...now what?
One particularly difficult part of successfully managing and integrating educational technology and immersing your students in creative and innovative learning tasks is being away from them. I mean that in the kindest way, however, it is incredibly difficult to leave a plan for a relief teacher that 'replaces' the function you perform in terms of the technology used, especially in 5G.
When I reflected on this, three things came to light. Firstly, professionally I have come a long way from first beginning to dabble in computer games and making powerpoints in high school, secondly, the kids in 5G and I are almost inseparable when it comes to using a variety of Apple and non-Apple devices and we do it almost seamlessly and thirdly, I realise how rich and valuable our learning relationship is. When I am unable to be in my class, I am lucky that my students are now beginning to be able to use and solve issues independently but that their edtech expertise can sometimes outweigh that of visiting relief teachers. We are dependent on each other. My classroom is not teacher centered nor is it student centered; it's learning centered. We share the limelight.
I adore this time in education. It's exciting and challengeing and incrediby rewarding. Beyond that, I am still amazed by how many people don't embed technology in their lives as I am always stunned to discover that some people don't find tech fun. It still shocks me!
But, I have a Steve. And a Jenny. And a David. Who are these people? Well.....
Do you have a Steve?
A Steve is a person to whom you can tell your technology dead ends to and he will offer solutions that often involve hardware, connections, privacy permissions and technical know-how. Examples of this include, "why isn't this working..." or "can I get this to talk to this..." or "HELP PLEASE". Having a Steve is essential to on-going success.
Do you have a Jenny?
A Jenny is a person from whom you can bounce ideas off of, who is full of inspiring stories and knows which app will work for that. A Jenny is a tremendous resource as she meets you at your technological level and gives you support along your journey without taking over your journey. I couldn't have accelerated as quickly without such a relationship. Everyone needs a Jenny.
Do you have a David?
A David is vital to your edtech improvement strategy. David's provide leadership and room to grow into your expertise. They are able to purchase and provide you with the devices, set achievable expectations, encourage use and collaborative sharing and model what they want. They get involved. They say 'yes'. You can't succeed without a David.
And then there's the most invaluable resource; yourself. Everything you try and that doesn't work, that forces you to find a workaround strategy or to redefine your plan or that you discover and didn't anticipate, makes your experience and knowledge the most invaluable ingredient of edtech success in the classroom. And that's why it's hard to substitute teachers. That's why it's hard to be away.
Dr Ruben's SAMR model I chose as this blog's picture post is what you're travelling on when you have the Steve, Jenny and David supporters sorted. You need people. You need solutions and then you need effort and yourself.