Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top 5 Myths/Reality


#1 Myth: I am at your school to fix technology...full disclosure, I'm to blame for this mindset

Reality: I am not a technician. When I first entered this position, I pigeon holed myself into the perceived technician role. When teachers had Promethean boards that didn't work or had a slight glitch with a computer or an iPad in distress, I did my best to remedy the problem. After all, I couldn't assist with technology integration if it didn't work. My thought process was in order to serve my educators, I had to ensure the technology worked. That being said, my favorite part of my career (and what it's really about) is to work with educators to utilize technology to support classroom learning goals, infuse technology tools into the curriculum and enhance student learning in a blended learning environment. I still occasionally fix technology because I want to be helpful but my primary goal is to infuse technology integration as a seamless part of the curriculum, not as option or as a reward.

#2 Myth: I expect educators to use technology all the time, for every activity...


Reality: I l
ove technology tools and devices! I get so excited that sometimes it enthusiastically leaks out! BUT I want educators to use technology to support learning goals, not because it's a shiny new toy. I firmly believe technology should enhance learning and support curriculum goals. Technology opens up the world to students!
My goal is to infuse technology into the curriculum because it enables student to complete projects in a way that is inconceivable with traditional methods. Yet, I truly believe you need a balance between traditional classroom pedagogy and technology integration. I feel strongly that all students need technology to function in today's technological world but that doesn't mean I think it's exclusive. If I mention 15 technology tools, I'm really hoping that at least 1 or 2 will work for you. My goal isn't to overwhelm you, it's to make sure that I am suggesting a variety of option because I want to meet your need.



#3 Myth: My students can't do...because of...

Reality: Students can achieve more than we can imagine. We are often the resistors and it's not because students lack the ability to achieve. It's because we lack a mindset to embrace change to step out of our comfort zone, especially when that change is scary. I started suggesting new tools and techniques for use with the kinderpups...the teachers ran with it. My thought, if kinders can do it, anyone can...I was surprised at how well they did!

Then the unforeseen happened. I believe in encouraging teachers and I was surprised when I heard teachers say, "that's not a tested subject so they have time to explore technology." I want to say, have you tried logging 25...age 5...students onto a computer when they not familiar with keyboards and have only recently learned to read. I refrain and smile while devising a plan of action to use technology with their content. Don't get me wrong, I take exception to these thoughts. BUT I understand they really stem from a lack of comfort and an uncertainty within the educator. The reality is that kindergarten is the foundation for all learning and we could learn from them. We have wonderful students that keep trying, they get frustrated but don't give up, they give honest feedback, they don't let a lack of access to technology or a lack of understanding the tool hold them back, and they ask for help. All of this would not be possible if I didn't have teachers who are open to infusing technology while embracing a growth mindset. These teachers are a blessing because they are Wonder-Woman style educators who transform education before my eyes!

 

#4 Myth: Learning has to be serious which requires lecture & book work...

Reality: A student having fun is participating in engaged learning. An engaged student takes an interest in learning and is less likely to be side tracked. Engagement can easily be accomplished with technology but also with group work, STEM projects and maker-space areas. As educators, we need to remember how to have fun with teaching and ask ourselves if we'd (realistically) want to sit through our own class. Chances are if you only use handouts and you are doing all the talking, this is a teacher centered class and not a blended learning environment. The positive, it's super easy to add infuse technology and it only takes you.


#5 Myth: Adding rigor means I need to add worksheets or book work...

Reality: Higher order thinking (HOT) comes from questions that require thinking (not a cookie cutter response), student discussion, project based learning, researching ideas, trial/error, and realizing that there is no such thing as failure if students are learning in the process. None of this requires a handout and technology integration can enhance the learning experience. I challenge each of you to be HOT educators!

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