What I wish “they” know

ipad pencilJill Weber is a middle school social studies teacher in Cheney, Kansas. She’s the latest member of the KCSS board and writes at A View of the Web. Pasted below is one of her recent posts.

———

In my preparation classes to become a teacher, technology was a factor.  I learned how to set up a website, how to save to a flash drive or floppy disk, and came up with ideas for lessons that incorporate technology for students to use.

I use none of that in the way it was intended.  Everything has changed.

Technology has been a part of my teaching career each one of my 10 years.  Although, I never would have guessed how fast and drastic the changes in technology has occurred in the last three years.  The lengths that technology has advanced in education have shocked me, and I’ve still got a good 20 years left.

In the 10 years I’ve been working as a teacher, I have found myself on both end of the technology spectrum.  I have been completely lost and not excited about new changes while relying on someone else to help me or teach me the new tech.  More recently I have found that my role with technology in school has evolved to more of a leader/instructor on incorporating tech in the classroom.  Never would I have thought 10 years ago that I would have an elective class that focused on using technology to broadcast various media projects created by 7th and 8th grade students.

But here I am.

Over the years, and throughout my role with technology I have found myself muttering “I wish they knew . . . “  When I struggled with technology there were things I just really wanted those who “got it” to know about me and my journey, why it was a struggle, or what caused my hesitation.  Now that I’m more of a teacher in the area, I find I have a whole new set of wishes for the “other side.”

This post is not meant to point out one side as being “better” than the other.  More to raise awareness for all of the teachers behind the front lines.  Those of us who are expected to incorporate the vastly different technology that is placed in the hands of the students in our rooms.

I have reached out to other teachers in my district and PLN for the “wishes” they have.  These come from teachers of all disciplines, ages, subjects, and technology levels.

To the “tech savvy” teacher.  Here’s what those who struggle with technology wish YOU knew:

  • “Don’t laugh or say ‘YOU don’t know that?!’ when I ask a question.”
  • “Don’t make fun of me when I don’t see something that is obvious.”
  • “Tell me step-by-step how to do something, don’t take the device away and do it yourself.”
  • “Don’t tell me to stop doing something the ‘old way,’ if I decide to try the new tech or program, I will.”
  • To administrators:  “Don’t force me to use technology in my class without providing training in my subject areas.  If I teach math, don’t have a social studies techie person trying to show me how to use a device in my classroom, the majority of their presentation will include social studies examples, not math.”
  • “Don’t tell me to ‘get with the times’ and then laugh” – – Please don’t do that.
  • “Time is a factor. I wouldn’t mind putting more tech into my classroom, but finding the time during the day to teach the program or app, explain the project, work time for the project, and presentations really cut into the time that I have to teach the content I’m required.  Teachers are asked to do more and more with less time.”
  • “I teach art.  Students come to my class expecting to work with their hands, not a technology device.”
  • “It is difficult to plan lessons or devote much of my classroom to technology when it can be unreliable.”
To the traditional teacher.  Here’s what those who are using technology consistently in their classrooms wish YOU knew:
  • “First, I wish my not-so-tech-savvy colleagues knew that I am willing to help!  I don’t always know who is interested in learning a new skill or strategy, and I don’t want to seem to pushy.  But if someone asks for help, I am more than willing to start from the beginning.  I have learned a lot through trial and error, I’d love to save you some time!”
  • “I was not always tech savvy.  I learned.  I started small and tried one thing, and then another. Once I saw the power of using technology in the classroom I was hooked and wanted to learn more.”
  • “I don’t do EVERYTHING online.  Some of my colleagues are under the impression that I have gone totally paperless and that to use technology you have to go ‘all in.’  I still do plenty of things paper pencil, it just depends on the project.”
  • “I always have a backup plan. Technology can be fickle, so I always have alternative in mind if it doesn’t cooperate.”
  • “When it comes to Google, its hard to make a mistake that you can’t “undo”. I work with a lot of people who are hesitant to try something because they don’t want to screw things up. The undo button is your friend! (so is revision history).”
  • “Do not take pride in NOT knowing anything about the computer–especially if you are a teacher–you should want learn, learn and grow, and learn more–you wouldn’t like your students saying that!”
  • “Pick ONE thing, one small thing, and learn it, practice, do it, and do it again until you’re ready for the next thing–don’t be absolute and just throw your hands up and say, ‘I’ll have none of it!'”
  • “Don’t think you can just take a technology project/assignment that has been practiced, taught, and researched by another teacher and just ‘do what they did’ if you haven’t spent time learning the technology.  You will struggle to understand what the students are doing, answer any questions, and will end up frustrated with the results. Try out the technology you are asking your students to use.”
  • “If you have more than five years left in education, get on board and start attempting to use more technology, it’s not going anywhere.”
Which side do you tend to be on?  How is using technology in the classroom easy/difficult for you?  What do you wish the “other side” knew?

About glennw

I work as a social studies specialist at ESSDACK, an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Before coming to ESSDACK, I taught middle school US History and higher ed social science classes.

2 thoughts on “What I wish “they” know

  1. Good morning Glenn!

    I thought you might appreciate something I came up with recently. The other day after school, some of my 8th grade students were telling me of some of the creative, if not derogatory, acronyms that they came up with for some of their subjects. These included examples like MUSIC M-uch U-seless S-inging I-n C-lass. And PE, P-ointless E-xercise. Well, before they came up with something on their own, I decided to take on the challenge and create my own acronym for my subject, History. Here is the result:

    H-ighly I-ntellectual S-timuli O-btained T-oday R-esearching Y-esterday!

    Best regards,

    Winston

    On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 9:39 AM, Doing Social Studies wrote:

    > glennw posted: “Jill Weber is a middle school social studies teacher in > Cheney, Kansas. She’s the latest member of the KCSS board and writes at A > View of the Web. Pasted below is one of her recent posts. ——— In my > preparation classes to become a teacher, tech” >

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