Five Issues To Consider (By Jen Wagner) - Tech Learning

Five Issues To Consider (By Jen Wagner)

I just returned home from a day of learning and am reminded again that the network which I spend the most of my learning time with is not the norm of the teachers in our classrooms. I spent some time sharing
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I just returned home from a day of learning and am reminded again that the network which I spend the most of my learning time with is not the norm of the teachers in our classrooms.

I spent some time sharing with 3 wonderful, enthusiastic, creative teachers who are doing good and effective teaching in (and out) of their classrooms…..yet, not doing anything in what might be seen as 21st century learning.

They are open to new ideas – but they have not adopted, they have not truly explored, and primarily they came to hear people advise them on what they could be doing next.

And I realized that (we, as presenters) could be more aware of 5 issues which might keep those teachers exactly where they were the moment before they entered the conference……

1. We are showcasing many tools that teachers will become very enthused to try out. Even to envisioning ways to use it on Monday, revamping lesson plans, and dreaming of the “what ifs”….. and the reality is: that tool will be blocked when they get back to school. And the hurdles to jump to open the site might just nip that opportunity in the bud immediately.

2. We are showcasing many tools that teachers will become very enthused to try out. Even to envisioning ways to use it on Monday, revamping lesson plans, and dreaming of the “what ifs”…..and the reality is: we demonstrated a tool in 10 minutes that might have taken us 10 hours, 10 days, or even longer to figure out. All the quirks, all the little shortcuts….. but we forgot to mention them. We make it look simple when in fact; it might just not be that simple.

3. We are showcasing many tools that teachers will become very enthused to try out. Even to envisioning ways to use it on Monday, revamping lesson plans, and dreaming of the “what ifs”…..and the reality is: the teacher does not have “us” or even a helpful tech support team available as a go to. We might provide our email, even a skype phone # or twitter name – but having someone there, on campus, looking eye to eye is almost always more effective.

4. We are showcasing many tools that teachers will become very enthused to try out. Even to envisioning ways to use it on Monday, revamping lesson plans, and dreaming of the “what ifs”…..and the reality is: their admin is going to say “why” or “how will this affect……” or “will you still be able to ……” or “are you sure……” And what data do you have to back up the effectiveness of this new possibility except to name drop someone that they don’t know.

5. We are showcasing many tools that teachers will become very enthused to try out. Even to envisioning ways to use it on Monday, revamping lesson plans, and dreaming of the “what ifs”…..and the reality is: we never stopped to ask ….”What are you doing now?”

As a presenter, I often forget 1 – 4. I get people all stirred up, all excited, raring to go ….. they dive in….and then they flounder. At times it is no wonder they walk away and say it isn’t worth it. We know that they all don’t walk away….some persevere, some call, write, cry for help. We forget that their school scenario might be limited, their learning curve might not have the time availability many of us devote to conquering new tools, and we neglect to give them information that will put a foundation of credibility with their new ideas. For many…….we touch, we inspire, and then – we forget.

But as I presenter, I know the #1 thing I do not do is ask “what are you doing in your classrooms now?”

We have exceptional teachers out there – who need to be applauded and acknowledged.
We have exceptional teachers out there – who are inspiring students every day (and not just the high achievers, the good kids, the A+ students – but also the ones who don’t wish to be at school, who don’t have parents who support them, and who other teachers have written off and all the kids who fall in-between.)
We have exceptional teachers out there – who don’t need wikis, and blogs, and rss, and yortube, and podcasts……..and everything else we call 21st Learning to make them better teachers. They are already good…..no, in fact, they are excellent teachers.

We have excellent teachers that we talk to often…………….and we need to remind ourselves of that before we start telling them how to be a better teacher.

As presenters:
We need to remember that the tools we share might be blocked.
We need to remember that the tools we share might have more of a learning curve then we present.
We need to remember that many teachers will be alone and might need a way to re-connect with us.
We need to remember that administration might want to know more than just "this is a cool new tool to use".

But, most importantly, I think we need to remember to listen.
Because once we start listening……..I think we just might start being listened to.

(this blog post can also be read at http://www.jenuinetech.com/blog)

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