Thursday, September 27, 2012

Transformation takes endurance

I have always wanted to be a dynamite rock star with the ability to play killer guitar solos. It is a dream I have yet to realize. I likely won't be playing any of the big stages to sold out crowds in my lifetime.  Despite that, I still find myself settling into a solid jam session in my basement occasionally just to continue growing toward that dream.

One of the things that has caught me off guard in my position in Waukesha has been the belief many people have regarding their ability to grow in their comfort with, understanding of, and use of technology for both professional and personal uses.  I consistently hear professionals across the district assume that some people just "get" technology -- that a harmonious existence with technology is more of a natural talent than an acquired skill.

What we all need to accept is that the reality is quite the opposite -- technology knowledge, awareness or skill is learned, not inherited. Growing in this area and gaining the necessary knowledge is more a test of will, desire, and endurance than a measure of genetic fortune or natural disposition.  It is often a begrudgingly painful learn, try, fail, and try again experiment.  This is a common reality for nearly everybody I talk with who embraces technology in the classroom environment.

However, like all things worthy of taking on and investing in, the use of technology for both personal and professional use will pay enormous dividends with students.  Not only can these tools transform teaching and learning practice, breaking down the walls and the restrictions of time, space and place, but the tools can also allow us to work more efficiently and collaboratively.

Learning to integrate technology is much more of a journey than a destination.  And much like that ability to play jaw-dropping guitar solos, the only way to really improve is to spend time and energy practicing, growing, networking and learning from others, and absorbing.  It is an experiment in endurance, and one that we all can commit to growing in.