Friday, January 23, 2015

It's Not About Us

I'm what you might call a "change junkie."

This past Sunday, the sermon coming from the pulpit was all about change.  Now I know the preacher was talking about change within the church, but this week it's really got me to thinking.

The fear of tech integration isn't really about the technology.  It's about the fear of change.

It's been said time and again throughout my ten years of teaching, that all things go in cycles.  For example, when I was a first grader back in the late 80's, teachers were gung-ho about the concept of "whole reading."  When I got to college, I had no clue what a phoneme was let alone a diphthong.  That word just sounded...well...wrong!  Even I in my shortish teaching career have seen theories and methods come and go.

But the one thing that has stayed constant- the thing that has kept education moving forward- is change.

Now I don't expect everyone to get the same thrill I do about new concepts or techniques.  Like the preacher said, if everyone was an ignitor of change, then all we'd be doing is sitting around THINKING up great ideas.  What we truly need, is a collective agreement to work together to try new things.  Explore new concepts.  Tackle what seems impossible.

Because here's the thing.  It's not about us.

I was sitting here today watching my two year old on my iPad which is something I've done every single day of this maternity leave.  However, what I stumbled upon today while watching was the incredible ease with which she was problem solving.  Sure, she can manipulate apps, swipe to turn it on, etc.  For a moment, a small glitch occurred.  Something that must happen a dozen times a day in the classroom full of iPads.  What did she do?  I watched as she tried multiple ways to get the device to cooperate.

Will hitting the home button work? No... What if I double click then swipe the app closed?  Ahh...yes!

She's two.  And a half.  (I'll give you that.)

She didn't panic.  She didn't scream for mommy to come help.  She just worked with it until it did what she wanted it to do.  Simple as that.'s not about us. It's about them.

Them.  The ones who are sitting in our classrooms every single day who go home and spend an hour or so on a device.

Them.  The ones such as my daughter who have never known anything other than a touch screen.

Them.  The ones who will someday fear the newness of what technology will bring in their lifetime.

So we need to set ourselves aside.  Look at change from a new perspective.  How would I want my students to see something new I present them?  Would I want them to protest or refuse to learn?  Would I want them to quit? Give in? Cross their arms and throw in the towel?

Of course not.  I want them to be challenged.  To embrace learning.  They don't always have to love it, but neither do we.

What we do have to do, is try.  Have an open mind.  Who knows?

We may just end up loving it...even if we won't admit it.


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