Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No! I Won't Learn Technology!

I was sent this blog article on how to reach the 'unreachable' if not downright defiant teacher who does not want to learn how to integrate technology his or her curriculum. When I read the message, I continued to get a flashback of my own experience. I am going to explain that I was that educator! Really. I am old! I was defiant and those of you that know me are aware that I am opionated and not easily swayed once I make up my mind. However, the author of this article points out that it is not about the educator...but about the students. That is what turned me around.
I am a teacher. I love kids!
I will share my experience and maybe it will sway some of you fence riders...
Over 15 years ago, my principal brought a computer into my 5th grade classroom. I now know it was an IBM 286 but at the time, I did not care. I simply crossed my arms in front of my chest and said, "No! GIve it to another teacher that will want it." Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story...
The principal stood her ground and placed the computer in my classroom. I had absolutely no idea how to use it. I sat down to type up my newsletter (I was a LoTi level 0!) and asked a one of my more tech-savy students, Sam, to come and show me how to get started. Sam was patient and demonstrated how to navigate through the confusing world of binary code. He would show me something and I remember saying, "No, go slower." and "Show me again."
I would ask another student to show me something else on the computer. I was pleasantly surprised at how many of my students were quite knowledgeable and I could not have asked for better instructors.
I began to see how motivated my students were by any type of technology, from Oregon Trail (anyone remember the game?) to looking up the information on the internet- even using an old dial up connection. How can an educator resist encouraging students in using technology? Even a defiant educator has to see the value of motivation in a classroom.
As educators it is a great thing for us to humbly have to learn new strategies and content to put us in the role of learner. It reminds us of the learning process and when things do not come easily how we have to struggle to retain the information and learn the concepts. When we add the element of our students being the 'experts' and we are learning from them, it empowers our students to show their leadership abilities.
So, the next time you would like to try out a new technology in your classroom, ask the experts- your students!

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