So typically I am not someone who rants, but everyone has to from time to time. Here’s mine.
I was facilitating a morning share recently on incorporating iPads into the classroom. One of the teachers sitting in the back said to me afterwards,
“That’s easy for you, you’re a techie.”
Really, really now, grant it I am in my early thirties so I guess if you are assuming that I grew up with technology all the time around me; then you guessed wrong. Well let me tell you, here is what I word processed on until I went to college:
Also, I went to Catholic elementary and high school. In grade school, starting in fifth grade, we went once every two weeks into a lab with old Macs. Our curriculum consisted of:
While in high school, I did get a semester of Computer Applications 1 in a Windows lab. Our big project, create a menu using Word. My senior year I opted for an elective course C++ (computer language) which was taught in a math classroom with NO computers. Do you know how hard it is to write computer code on paper with no way of running it to see if it will actually compute? But, I’m a techie!
I was the first teacher when I taught fourth grade to pilot an Elmo, at my school, because I saw it incorporated into an inservice. I understood how powerful that document camera could be in the classroom and allowed it to change the way I instructed the writing process. I sought out every professional development opportunity I could where the topic dealt with technology. I understood the engagement it brought to lessons and wanted to try to incorporate it as much as I could for my students. I made sure when the time came for a Master’s degree I focused on Instructional Technology. I started out lurking on Twitter, until I realized my ideas were real, valid, and worthy of sharing.
I began to immerse myself in what I felt and still feel to be the most needed skill in teaching. Yes, knowing your content backwards and forwards is nice. Heck, having a complete understanding of every pedagogical method would be something to be proud of. But, being able to meaningfully integrate technology into your instruction is crucial for our students today. I’m a techie, not because I grew up with it, but because I have made it a priority. Educators need to stop making assumptive excuses and start saying, “It’s easy for you, you work hard at it.”
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, one of India’s most distinguished scientists once said,
“If you fail, never give up because f.a.i.l. means ‘first attempt in learning'”
Let’s all start to utilize technology for instruction and if we fail, it’s just our first time learning how to use it. Just think of the message that tells our students.