Browsing Tag ed tech

Breaking the Habit

Breaking the Habit

Gibson Les Paul Studio
We can learn a lot about becoming a better teachers by listening to Linkin Park. If you haven’t listen to the song Breaking the Habit recently, go listen to it now.

What strikes me about this hit from the once-rap/metal band is that it has an intensity to it without any distorted guitars. There’s a clean guitar and some strings, but not this wall of sound from guitars. There’s actually a crazy story behind this recording: when they were mixing the album, they happened to mute all the electric distorted guitars on the mixer. It started off as a mistake, but one guy in the band suggested they keep it like that. If you know anything about electric guitars, you know that this is a major decision that has a huge, huge impact on the sound of a song. To make things crazier, only half the band was in the studio, and they had to make the decision immediately. They decided to mix it without the distorted guitars, and that’s the way that we know the song.

In the clasroom, sometimes less tech is better. As teachers who care about technology, we often feel the need to integrate tech into every little bit of our classroom. There are times, though, where a pencil and paper are the best solution. One are my favorite math lessons from when I talk kindergarten was using an overhead projector to teach students about two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. When you put a three-dimensional shape on an overhead projector, it instantly becomes two-dimensional on the screen. I’ve heard teachers joke about antiquated things in a classroom like an overhead projector, or even a pencil (ah-hem, #pencilchat), but sometimes low-tech or no tech is the best solution. Don’t be afraid to get rid of those iPads, or get rid of those electric guitars, or whatever might be getting in your way. An eduawesome lesson might be right under your nose, and you’ll never know it if you force tech into every lesson.

A Manifesto for Ed Tech Teachers

A Manifesto for Ed Tech Teachers

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.