Tag Archive for Technology

I’m Not a Tech Expert -from the Monday Musings Post

Just sharing with you this week’s “Monday Musings” post to my staff from my memo blog:

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Image from Venosdale

I’ve always felt pretty tech savvy…I love learning about what new web 2.0 tools or iPad apps are out and I catch on pretty quickly.  I feel like that all changed when I got my new laptop a few weeks ago…it was only 5 minutes after Brad brought me my new device that I called his office to ask “how do I scroll?” Yes, you heard that right, I couldn’t even scroll down on a webpage.  Go ahead and laugh (I know I did).  You were all witness to my lack of skills with this MacBook Pro in our first staff meeting when I couldn’t get anything to work right.  After a couple of weeks with it now, I am getting used to it, but still turning to google, youtube or “phone a friend” almost daily to learn how to do things that are different than on a PC.  I am also learning really neat features that I could never do before.

Why do I share this with you? Because I know that, for some of you, going 1:1 with iPads might feel the same way.  I know that it’s hard to say “don’t worry,” but I do encourage you to not be afraid of them and model your learning for your students.  As teachers, we don’t have to be the experts of everything that gets imparted to our students.  When we show students that we don’t always know how to do something, but learn until we figure it out, we are modeling for them exactly what lifelong skill we want them to have.
I know I’ve said this in a previous Monday Musings post, but want to share it again:
We do not have to be experts at the tools…we have to be experts at learning and show students what it is like in real life to not know the answer or not know how to do something. To be successful in life you need to know how to find it out. Or as Will Richardson says we have to be able to “learn, unlearn and relearn.”
 
Image from Venosdale
 

I have a secret…

I am leading a session on use of specific apps on the iPad for teachers in my building tomorrow and I am NOT an expert on any of the apps I’m sharing. That’s right. I’m showing how to use them, giving ideas of how they can be used and I don’t know everything about each of them and I probably can’t answer all the questions that may be asked of me.

But, I do know that if there are any questions I can’t answer I can tweet them out and am 99.9% sure that someone in my Twitter PLN will have the answer for us.  I have used Educreations in 4 classrooms, showing the teacher and the students all at once how to use it.  Each time, a student (or the teacher) discovered something new or came up with a tip to help everyone.  Every time I use it, I learn something new.  Even if I did become an expert on any one of these apps, the developers are constantly listening to feedback from the users and updating the features, so I would have new features to learn about each time they are updated. I also know that as teachers begin using the apps in their classrooms they will come up with great new ways of using them for student learning and share them with others.

We do not have to be experts at the tools…we have to be experts at learning and show students what it is like in real life to not know the answer or not know how to do something.  To be successful in life you need to know how to find it out.  Or as Will Richardson says we have to be able to “learn, unlearn and relearn.”

 

Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works

With the increasing rate of new tech devices and web 2.0 tools being developed each day, it is very easy for both teachers and students to get excited by something flashy and lose sight of the purpose.  We often have to remind ourselves to start with our learning objectives and THEN decide what technology can enhance the learning process.

I recently finished reading the 2nd Edition of  Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works published by ASCD and found it to be a great resource to maintain this focus on the purpose.  This book is a  follow-up to Marzano’s original book of Classroom Instruction that Works. In Marzano’s original book we learned about 9 research based strategies that can have a direct impact on the learning in your classroom.  In this technology resource book, the authors take Marzano’s strategies and explain a variety of a ways that technology can be integrated into the classroom as a tool for these instructional strategies.  This book is chock-full of ways to integrate technology for:

  • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
  • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers
  • Nonlinguistic Representations
  • Summarizing and Note Taking
  • Assigning Homework and Providing Practice
  • Identifying Similarities and Differences
  • Generating and Testing Hypotheses
In the beginning of this book there is a simple chart that identifies which tech tools in the book relate to each of the 9 instructional strategies.  After seeing this, I was curious if the authors had done any similar work on iPad apps related to these strategies, so I simply asked one of the authors on Twitter and received a reply within hours (you’ve got to love how convenient Twitter can be!)…
You can find the Google Spreadsheet of iPad apps HERE
I am not one to typically read a book on technology (because I learn all about new technology from my Twitter PLN), but as I read through this book, I was constantly tabbing pages of ideas that I then shared with a variety of teachers in our district.  For teachers that are not connected online, this book is a great resource to get started with learning ways to integrate technology into the classroom with purpose.  
Will Richardson says it well in his forward to this book when he says “technology in all of its forms is no longer an add-on to the work that we as educators do. It is now a fundamental part of the way we live and learn and teach.”  This book is a great place to begin the work of integrating technology into learning.