Monday, September 7, 2015

The Road to Simple and Seamless

"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, 
we rob them of tomorrow." ~John Dewey

Photo by Jinoba

What do we need to do to make technology woven into our teaching and learning? 

What do we need to change to make it less of an "event"?

How do we move from the state of mind that technology is a special tool, much like a dessert, instead of the table setting that is a necessary and obvious part of the landscape that simply blends into the background?

The #compelledtribe blogging group topic for this week couldn't have been more timely for me.

Because these are the exact questions I've been asking myself.

Photo from Wikimedia

The number of classrooms full of students that I am teaching.

The number of classrooms full of students that I desire to bring to a new level of knowledge.

The number of classrooms full of students I hope to be able to help understand that technology isn't simply an event that takes place at a certain time of the week that they see me, but can take place anytime and anywhere.

The number of classrooms full of students I wish to connect - to each other, to their community, and to the world.

Photo by Jen Houlette

The road to get there may be many miles long.

Especially with an outdated, or missing map of the land.

And the road most likely will have twists and turns, barriers and dead ends.

Making the use of technology into something that is second nature, is sometimes quite a trip.

Is there a right way? Is there a wrong way? It's hard to say.

Unless you're in the vehicle at the front of the caravan on the road, it's almost impossible to imagine.

But here are my first steps down that road:

*Connect lessons to the content learning taking place in the classrooms and the skills the students need to be able to do.
In most of my classes this week, I was able to connect the technology lesson I was doing to a reading, science, or social studies standard that was a focus in their classroom.

*Make creating and sharing more important than consuming.
This week I overheard a few students ask, "What game are we going to play?" I had a small twinge of panic as I realized that our view on the use of  technology may be on opposite ends of the road. It's my desire to move students toward the realization that a technology device can help them create amazing things, not just entertain them with mindless games.

*Take risks - variety is necessary.
I've done more risk-taking in my first couple weeks in my new role than I have in a long time. I could not have imagined myself doing six Google Hangouts with multiple classes at once, or realizing with only 15 minutes notice one morning that I would need a Plan B when two kindergarten classes were left with devices in locked mode, or that I would be required to "wing it" when the internet froze in the middle of a fourth grade lesson. My students need to know that it's ok to take risks, and it's ok if things don't work out perfectly.

The road to simple and seamless is one we need to travel together, especially when technology is concerned.

Yes, we need to do things differently.

Yes, we need to take technology and the way we teach it out of the box we've put it in.

After all, the road is about the students, and this is why we do what we do:

Photo by Jen Houlette


  1. Inspired! Thank you....Your post had practical and purposeful insight and thoughts.

  2. Great post, Jen! Sounds like you are doing a terrific job leading the caravan!