This is an excerpt from an old Pep Talk video that I would highly recommend watching and which I have included below! As the Kid President says: "Get your learn on! We're making history. I'm gone!"
I was fortunate to spend the past two days at the ITEC conference, where I got to go to sessions on blended learning, cultivating curiosity, sketchnoting, blogging, student legacies and digital portfolios, and many more. Please take some time to look over the resources that were shared by all of the amazing presenters: https://sites.google.com/site/iowaitec/conference/session-resources/. One session, however, provided me with my greatest takeaway. I got locked in a room with 12 other people and we had to find clues in order to solve puzzles that would help us unlock a wooden box, which would lead to our escape! Of course I had a great time and learned a lot! More than this though, I was reminded of the amazing potential that we have when we work together, learn from each other, pool together our individual expertise and collaborate to solve a common problem!
Of course, you can get too focused on minute details, like I did! As a former Chemistry teacher, I got totally excited when I saw a drawing of an incredibly complex chemical compound along with a half page of chemical reactions. I just knew that it was the key to solving the final problem! I mean, who wouldn't think that the drawing of the chemical compound could be laid over a Google map of five different locations and we would all suddenly understand the solution?! Needless to say, the chemical compound and reactions had absolutely nothing to do with our dilemma, it was nonessential information placed there to misdirect us. (Would have been so cool though, right?!) The key here is that I was allowed to explore this possibility while others were exploring other possibilities, but all of us contributed to the solution. Even if it was just finding one way that didn't work!
As someone who works with instructional technology on a daily basis, this session gave me an experience that reminded me that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student. You can always teach someone something and you can always learn something from them. You can also always teach yourself something, serving as both the teacher AND the student! There are numerous perspectives and often multiple solutions to the same problem. Think of some instance in your classroom that involves using technology. Just because you know how to use one technology tool, that doesn't mean that it's the only tool that you and your students can or should use. Just because we are showing you how to use a tool doesn't mean it will work for your classroom! Just because you found one that you think will work but nobody else is using it, doesn't mean that you shouldn't try it out! It is about exploring different possibilities, learning from other people, offering help to those who will listen, teaching yourself something new and ultimately, finding what works best for YOUR situation! Sometimes, you just have to take a look around and see the incredible things that your peers are doing!
I got a question for you. What are you teaching the world? How to be boring? How to make the world sad? No! No you're not. You're teaching the world what it looks like to be awesome. No matter who you are, somebody is learning from you. Everybody's a teacher and everybody's a student. Look for the awesome.
The DMPS Instructional Technology Coordinators share updates, articles, ideas & observations here.