Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trust Me -- You ARE Doing Great Things with Tech

I have said it before, but it is worth repeating.

Hardly a day goes by without me hearing about something a teacher is doing with tech in their classroom that is both transformative and engaging for students. These are things that were not even possible without the use of technology (an "M" or "R" on the SAMR framework).

Yet, I often hear from teachers, "I'm not doing anything special with tech in my classroom."

What a wonderful sign for our growth as a staff. We predicted a few years back, "There will come a day when you will take the use of tech in your classroom for granted." The reality is many teachers across our system may have arrived at that point already.

However, we have to be careful here.  Not everybody is in that same place with their tech adoption. We have people who are just available to learn about how the tech might support instruction. We have new staff members.

For that reason, we must reflect on the things that we ARE doing with tech already. They are a big deal. There are teachers in our system that would be so thankful to be able to do what you already can. There are teachers who are unsure of what Google Classroom even is or how it could be used. There are teachers who don't know how to use Google Docs to have students collaborate. There are teachers who do not teach from their iPad or who are new to some of the core apps. These are just a few things that you may with ease that others would feel is a monumental task.

While the things you do with technology daily may feel small or insignificant to you, taking a moment to teach a colleague what you do just might be the support they need to try something new in their classroom.

So, if you have thought, I don't really do anything special enough to present at The One Conference, stop yourself and shift your thinking. Instead try, Maybe sharing the things that I do naturally in my classroom with technology would be beneficial to my colleagues.

While you are at it, congratulate yourself for your investment to learning and growing in your instructional practice to find new ways to engage your students with technology. It is an investment of time and energy that is paying dividends for your students.

Friday, December 9, 2016

It's that Time of Year Again!

This always feels like a strange time of year for me. I can't believe it is already December and I am once again encouraging staff members to present at the One Conference! Didn't we just do this? I LOVE the conference and the feel that our professional development has on that day. But it only happens when we as staff members are willing to share what we are doing in our own classroom/instruction with others!

In talking with staff and maybe trying to nudge a few into participating; I often hear, "It's nothing special," "Everyone knows how to do that,"  or the famed, "It's not techie enough for the conference." We do tend to be tougher on ourselves than anyone else would. No idea is too big or too small; we have staff at all levels of technology integration and you'd be surprised how many may not have experience with a tool or activity that you are using.

STEP Outside the Box! will be the theme for this year’s conference. We are asking presenters to explain how they have taken their technology practice to a new level.
  • What are you doing now in your classroom that you could not have accomplished without the technology?
  • What steps did you take to get here?
  • How has it transformed your instructional practice?
  • How are you meeting the needs of your learners through the use of technology?

It is through this open minded mentality of sharing and risk taking that we all grow and learn a little more. For some of you presenting would be a venture outside the box!  Help us make the One Conference a phenomenal day! Please submit a proposal to present at the One Conference, proposals are due by 12/19/16.