Not enough time

May 9, 2008 at 7:32 am | Posted in Learning is Messy, Shift, Tech Integration | 1 Comment
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We rolled out our designated laptop program for teachers this week which meant the IT director and support staff spent many hours last week prepping the laptops and my colleague and I spent hours designing 2 orientation sessions for teachers to become familiar with their new laptops. This week and next is spent in orientation sessions with teachers and our IT director and support staff are attending to quirks with the new PCs. So, I have already failed to meet my blog goals to post and comment. However, it is uncharacteristically rainy here in Madrid and is forecast to be so all weekend- so I’ll have the time and energy to dive into the Comment Challenge blogs and recharge.

I have more thoughts on the thread of “not enough time”. Essentially, there isn’t enough to learn and apply many of the ideas I catch when reading or listening to blogs, news and podcasts. Progress is slower than I would like at times and I am saddened with the amount of time wasted. Finally, the way we use the minutes in our school day needs to change if we want to grow and improve the quality and relevance of the school day and what we are asking our students to do all day.

I have heard often enough, “Even if we had more computers in the classroom, there is no time for the kids to use them.” They are right given the way we currently teach. However, it is time to update the way we teach and allow students to “graduate from the slate and chalk to the pencil.” Use of computers should not be seen as an add-on but a useful tool. And it doesn’t have to wipe out the use of pencil, paper, books, crayons, etc. either. All the tools can be used in the classroom.

Let that reluctant writer (or all students) pre-write and then write a first draft on the computer- the power of flexibility with word processing is so freeing!

Tell students, “I don’t know the answer to that, let’s find it” or “Let’s find a video to show this concept or content so you can all see what I’m talking about.”

Don’t answer all your students questions or feel you have to, when they ask “what do I do next?” when learning a new application or software activity. Answer their question with, “Let’s look at the screen, what do you think?”

As a “tech integrator” who is not a lab teacher but “housed” in the LS lab, I model this for teachers by responding to students in this way when they are in the lab or I am in their classroom. I, carefully, apply this with staff and suggest ideas that rethink old ways of teaching. I firmly believe in show don’t tell. Telling is easier and faster, but rarely as effective.

Finally, I am definitely building the plane while flying it in terms of my growth as an educator who wants to be present in the 21st Century. I have so much to learn, which I find exciting rather than chilling. I am also challenged by continuously reflecting on what I do and asking myself, this is better but is it good enough? Is there an even better way? Plus, what is best in one classroom or for one student will not always be best for another classroom or student. Differentiation is another powerful consideration. So, I do the best I can each day, reflect, and wish there were more hours in the day!

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  1. You have so clearly articulated the pedagogical shift that we are all trying to help our teachers make. What is so interesting to me is just how difficult this can be. To me it seems natural not to have all the answers (how could I?) but to some teachers that experience is just horrifying.

    Our challenge is to strike that delicate balance between using these tools to be more effective learners and helping teachers understand that this may mean letting go of some strongly held beliefs and habits.


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