A Manifesto for Ed Tech Teachers

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I was just in the office of my elementary school. I happened to have my iPad with me (checking Twitter) and the office staff asked to see new pictures of my newborn (she’s super cute). Everyone crowded around the iPad, oohing and aahing, when the clerk mentioned her two year old granddaughter has an iPad. The office staff was amazed that a two year old could use an iPad. I mentioned this YouTube video of a two year old confused by a magazine, but enthralled with an iPad. Shocked, the staff (including my principal) asked for more. I shared a few apps like There’s a Monster at the End of This Book. I could begin to see the gears turning in my principal’s head. And it occurred to me…

Most educators don’t keep up with technology.

As an ed tech teacher, I integrate technology into my classroom regularly. I spend time learning about the latest ed tech tools, and work to build that into my class. I talk to like-minded teachers on Twitter about the latest and greatest. My classroom is constantly evolving.But, this is not how most teachers teach. We, as believers of classroom technology need to do more than just make our classroom amazing. We need to share how we learned about these tools (“Here’s a great resource–I learned about it on Twitter.”), and not just keep it to ourselves. We need to create opportunities to educate administrators about great technologies. We need to not just model technology integration, but be advocates of it.

Non-tech teachers/admins will only used technology when they have to. And most of the required technology stinks. I even complain about using DataDirector, BlackBoard, eCollege, etc. If that’s all they know, it’s no wonder they don’t care about integrating technology into the classroom. There’s this world of great technology they’ve never seen. That’s where we, the ed tech evangelists, come in. Be pro-active, and create opportunities to share exciting tech with those teachers. If they see how amazing this is, they will want to change. Then they will change. And then their students will change, too. And that’s the goal.

Administrators don’t know what they don’t know. I demonstrated a simple app today and jaws dropped. If we simply expose others in education to amazing tools, the culture of schools will begin to change. It’s necessary to share with others that are already passionate about tech, but at some point we need to reach beyond that, or it becomes a feedback loop. Rather than conversations being us-to-us, make it us-to-them. Share with non-tech teachers. Explain it to non-tech teachers. Model it to non-tech teachers. Get out there and evangelize.

  • Amen! Great points. Often communicated is “We don’t know what we don’t know” from those who want to know.  That is how Tech Cafe in Covina-Valley came about and it is still evolving to best show teachers what is out there in edtech.  District leaders, admins and teachers in general still seem to struggle with the understanding of edtech let alone the integration of tech in classrooms.  It is up to us “edtech evangelicals” to show them what is there, how it works and how edtech benefits their classroom. 

  • A great point. As EdTech leaders we need to nurture a culture of sharing and realize that opportunities to do so may pop up when we least expect it. For me, it’s been a revelation to see that even simple tools that I look at and say, “Ho hum” might just be the one thing that ignites a spark in someone else. (You mean everyone doesn’t think like me!?)  I think this video illustrates the point perfectly. What’s obvious to you, may be amazing to someone else. http://youtu.be/RWPAeaN46js 

  • Love the video. Two quotes from it blew me away:
    “What’s obvious to me is amazing to others.”
    “We’re clearly a bad judge of our own creations.”

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  • Mdds8

    Hi Bill
    This is Kim the Digital Immigrant. Do you have IPad 1 or IPad 2. I have purchased the IPad 2. I have yet to try all the APs. 

  • Mdds8

    Congrats on your newborn baby!

  • Hi Kim. I have an iPad 2. I recently wrote a post about iPad apps: http://www.billselak.com/2012/musicapps . Thanks for the congrats. We’re happy to have her!

  • Jo-Ann Fox

    Agree! I am constantly sharing my use of educational apps with my colleagues (and listening to their ideas). It is through collaboration that transformation of teaching takes shape. Check out my webpage http://www.AppEducation.com where I share my use of educational apps to promote student engagement! Thanks, Jo-Ann Fox

  • I definitely agree Jo-Ann. It’s about the collaboration.

  • Another case in point: I had to introduce my teachers to Google Apps for EDU and get them started with their new accounts. The teachers were not excited about this and the dread in the room was palpable. Just as an aside, I showed them my iGoogle home page and how I use it to read all the important posts (like this one!), widgets for to-do lists, drawing, etc., when the room completely changed. They became totally excited about creating their own page and actually stayed after the training to learn more. That was a an Aha! moment for me. iGoogle to me was just a simple reader tool that I had taken for granted. For them, it opened the door to learning more and being excited about using the other Google Apps too.

     BTW – There’s a Monster at the End of This Book was my son’s favorite book when he was a toddler (now 18 and going off to college). You just brought back wonderful memories for me! Congrats on your own bundle of joy :-)

  • Obvious to you. Amazing to others. Yep. https://vimeo.com/25494440

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