I’ve been thinking a lot about this. It’s not about teaching the tools as much as it’s about teaching the ability to adapt to trying new tools and writing lessons that expand one’s thinking. I think about to the mid-2000s. Twitter was exploding with new technology tools. Every day I was flooded with an inbox or a twitter feed of new freemium tools to use — loved it! It was a great time to teach. That phase has long since passed, thankfully, and we’ve now entered a more pedagogical phase when our enthusiasm is governed with a grounded sense in whether or not a particular tool actually improves student learning. I like that. I get called-in to assist or train teachers in various educational technologies, and I always start out with this –> What do you want students to know and be able to do as a result of this lesson? Fifteen years ago, I’m not sure that ways always the first question we asked. Back then, it might have been, “How can I squeeze this sweet tech tool into class?” I’m glad those days are over.
I’ve found myself falling into a rut, a lull for the past few weeks. There are other portions of my non-tech coach job-life that aren’t as engaging and visible, and it’s fairly easy to fall into a vacuum. It’s not good for me at all and doesn’t keep me accessible. Today was a different kind of day.
I had the honor of collaborating with a fantastic teacher. She loves teaching, and she knows what she’s doing. Immediately I could tell that she was a reflective practitioner that constantly asked herself if what’s shes doing is effective. The target was clear in that she knew specifically what standards she had to it. There’s no doubt she could answer the famous question, “What do you want students to know or be able to do as a result of this lesson?”
After figuring out what standards she was obligated to meet, we combed through her lesson asking ourselves if that was going to help us get to the finish line. If it was, then were tweaks we could make to make the lesson more engaging.
Several of the tweaks we made, had little to do with technology. For example, we brainstormed the idea of bringing in guest speakers. Any decent Tech. Coach is going to tell you that not every lesson needs to be infused with transformative technology. Sometimes non-techie things are better.
Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to pitch some super fun tool. Today Explain Everything, Pear Deck, Kahoot, and Google Drive seemed to fit just right. Each one offered something that couldn’t be done easily without technology and will give the kids an enhanced learning experience.
Today was a great day, and I was honored to have the chance to work with a teacher. I can’t wait to help out in the classroom and see all of this brainstorming come to life.