Sunday, November 3, 2013

Five Tips for Moving from “Forget it!” to “I Can Do It!” With New Technologies in Your Classroom

Using technology in your classroom can be both an amazing experience full of joy and excitement as well as a big headache with multiple opportunities for problem solving.  Even the most amazing technology like the latest iPads pose a multitude of issues that need to be worked out depending upon the model of deployment.  

A recent post by one of our amazing teachers, @msrowse, reminded me how easy it can be to just put the technology away and scream, “Forget it!”.  She shared how a year ago she would have easily thrown in the towel when a technology roadblock happened when using iPads in her classroom. Today she isn’t giving up when faced with a problem.  She has committed herself to problem solving and experiencing success with her lessons.  Another teacher I work with recently stated, “Sometimes I do things before I am ready.”  She is one of our most transformational teachers when it comes to using iPads.  (@MrsJCarlson).

In working with these teachers I am struck by some of their characteristics and behaviors that are both inherent in their personalities as well as developing behaviors over time with their experiences.

Here are five tips for being successful when implementing new technology in your classroom.  

Building Confidence
Confidence is a huge.  Confidence comes from success and success sometimes comes from failure.  The expectation that every lesson is going to be amazing is unrealistic and sets one up for disappointment.  Instead, use the attitude, today we are going to try….  and see how it goes.  Talk with your students about the possibility that it might not work perfectly.  Include them in the journey.  If your lesson works, great!  There is your confidence boost.  If it doesn’t, step back and try it again or try a different method.  

Be a Risk-Taker
The willingness to take risks helps teachers with new tools.  Risk-taking is often frowned upon, but in the ed-tech world, risk-taking is a good trait!  Allow yourself time to explore and play with technology.  Discovering new tools and methods starts to happen naturally when adventure is encouraged!

Embrace Failure
People ask me a lot, “How do you know all of this techie stuff?”  My answer is usually, “I failed a lot and tried again!”.  It is the same with our students.  Perfection should never be the goal.  Failure is a huge part of learning and we need to accept failed attempts, learn from them, and move on.  

Be Calendar Free
Giving up on a tight time schedule is critical when trying new things.  Yes, you might fall a couple of days behind your neighboring teacher.  However, the skills that your students begin using are lifelong skills that will increase ownership over their own learning.  Allow yourself some wiggle room. You will be much happier and less stressed out at the end of the day.

Be Your Best Friend
Being kind to yourself is key.  I often hear teachers say the feel like failures if something didn’t go well in their lesson.  They feel embarrassed when they have forgotten a skill I’ve taught them.  I always tell them, it is ok and to fail is our greatest teacher.  Accept failure, do not judge yourself, and move on.  ost importantly just keep at it!  It reminds me of the great Martin Luther King Jr. who stated:

If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving.

Image from Apple Foundations Training in Cupertino, CA Spring 2013

Written by Jennifer Krzystowczyk

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