Reading local newspapers about yearly school progress can certainly be discouraging. And as backwards as it may seem, each article makes me wonder if we are indeed setting the "bar" for success too low? Too low, you say, when students often do not make the minimum proficiency set by each state?
I often get a look of confusion when I tell my students to, "Go mess up, will ya'." Their eyes widen and they turn to a neighbor for a lifejacket because I just threw them in the deep end of technology. Come on, it's only a computer. Using tech in the classroom requires trust. Are they going to mess up? Sure. Are they going to add another call to your list, a dreaded call to the technology department? Maybe. Are they thinking? Absolutely. Are they applying what they know about technology to create something original or to solve a problem? Yes, brothers and sisters, yes.
In August, I wrote about the importance of providing children with role models in science, technology, engineering (STEM). In that post, I encouraged teachers to participate in the #scichat Challenge by inviting an expert into your classroom, either in-person or by using technology (You still have time to participate!).
One of the biggest distracters of technology integration is what I like to call the "technology fails." They are frequent, inevitable, and frustrating. This reason alone is why many teachers avoid integrating technology in to his or her class.
If something breaks at home, dad is the one to fix it. This was applied to me the other day when the dryer started making a clack-CLACK noise. I took it apart to see what was going on and I made a few adjustments to the drum and then put it back together. Low and behold, when my wife tried to dry some clothes, the drum would not turn. I knew immediately what the problem was.
As my first post discussed, it is important when taking the leap of bringing digital tools into your classroom to think about your learning goals first. However, how can you know where to put a tech tool in if you don't know what's out there?
Just two hundred more yards! Flip, push off, breathe. Right, left, right, breathe. Left, right, left, breathe. Long stroke, all the way forward and all the way back, deep. I can't get enough breath. Flip, push off, and breathe. Breathe again. You can do it, Ben!