I sat down at my computer today to write a blog post about the impact project based learning has had on my students. I had just gone through my camera roll and tagged the pictures and videos that showed my 1st graders researching, collaborating, struggling, using feedback to try again and I was so proud to share their success as self directed learners. 1st graders who use technology and are empowered to share their thinking and learning with the world. But writers block set in so I decided on this gloomy June day in Seattle that I could do a technology training that’s been on my to do list since September. ( my district will pay me 8 hours of pay to get it done) or I could check my twitter feed. Perfect. That’s when I saw that George Couros had retweeted Mike Crowley’s blog post:
Google, ISTE, and the Death of EdTech
I read the post then retweeted the post and then decided to get a cup of coffee and maybe go for a walk. But Crowley’s post stayed with me. Mainly because Alicia and I had the opportunity to pilot the first 1 to 1 iPad program in an elementary school in our district. We also started this blog because we watched how these devices transformed teaching and learning in our classrooms. Now, 6 years later, even though there is lots of technology in our public schools, the inclination is still to control and even to block students from using these devices. And professional development? Teaching teachers how to use technology in meaningful ways that impact students? It’s happening but it’s teacher driven. Which brings me back to the technology training that is still on my to do list.
As you can see the PD that I can get paid to do is several modules that will help me learn how to use our district’s evaluation system, how to use office 365, how to use power teacher and homeroom which are systems that allow me to take attendance and look up data for my students. It also includes schoology which is how I am able to access this training. (Schoology is also used by students in our middle and high schools I could get an hours pay to learn how to use gradebook but that doesn’t apply to me either. The digital classroom and the personalized learning path gave me hope but again there is nothing here that will impact my teaching and/or my students.
So that’s how I ended up on twitter this morning. A place where I am able to connect with educators like Mike Crowley and George Couros who are transforming education. Of course teachers need digital tools in the classroom and I will get better at using Onedrive and Power Teacher and Homeroom-programs that are used by our district. But in the classroom the focus needs to be on our students. And if we are going to give our kids technology we need to support teachers in their professional development. We need to show them what’s possible and support them as they integrate technology in authentic ways. This will lead to powerful learning in all of our classrooms. Quoting Mike Crowley, “Let’s imagine what learning can be.”