Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Where You Park Makes a Difference

Timing.  It matters with what we do.  Location, like in real estate, matters in what we do as well.  For example...

A few weeks ago my colleague and I were in a building and had some time between appointments.  We discussed where to "park" during our "down time."  The staff lounge came up as an option.  It was a logical option, but then another option came to our minds.  We decided to "park" in a common area near the front of the building.  There are comfy couches there.  That detail helped with the decision.  I'm not going to lie.  Also, and more importantly, this is in a high traffic place in the building.  Teachers are always moving in and out of the office along with classes of students (accompanied by their teachers) moving to and from their time at specials.  Our hope was to see some teachers that we wouldn't have seen otherwise (if we had parked in the lounge) and perhaps be able to provide some support, answer some questions, catch up, or all three.

Our choice turned out to be a wise one.

During our 45 minutes near the front of the building a handful of teachers took the time to stop, chat, and ask a question or two.  This informal support was quick, but it was still extremely valuable.  We don't need much time to be able to have an impact.  That's one of the many things we love about the nature of what we do.

Teachers are busy.  We know this.  We have lived this.  Sometimes even sending an email to us to ask a question at the exact right time is a challenge.  By choosing to be more visible my colleague and I were able to provide some guidance and support that we otherwise would't have.  With one choice we were able to create a win-win situation.

It's very rare that we're in the right place and the right time to provide exactly what teachers need.  That's just the nature of supporting so many teachers in so many buildings.  By parking in the right place we were able to be at least closer to the right place at the right time.  All we had to do was make the choice to be seen to make a difference.

Sometimes that's all it takes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Its Mere Presence...

I was fortunate enough to participate in both of the #EdChat Twitter chats yesterday.  That doesn't happen near often enough.  I always gain so much from the live conversations as well as the self-reflection afterward.  Yesterday's evening #EdChat was focused around creativity and innovation in education.  Since my profession is directly involved with technology that aspect of education ends up being mentioned often in conversations like this.  Here's a tweet (among a few more) that garnered some attention within the chat.

One thing our team makes painfully clear, no matter who we're working with, is that technology use doesn't necessarily mean that creativity, innovation, "21st Century" teaching and learning, etc. is actually occurring.  It's absolutely essential in technology integration to begin with an instructional/achievement goal and then thoughtfully integrate technology that will enhance the lesson/unit/work for the students as well as the teacher.  When approaching things in this manner everyone, including and most importantly the students, has a chance to "win."

So when contemplating/planning/reflecting upon/talking about technology integration, please allow me to encourage you to stay focused on the students and their learning rather than technology as a whole.  As a wise person once said, "Technology is a tool.  It's not a learning outcome."  Available support options include but definitely aren't limited to: getting in touch with a close-by colleague, contacting your building or district instructional technology specialist (if you have access to people like that in your building or district), joining a Twitter chat, etc.  These options can help with creating meaningful depth and likely enhance the use of technology in your learning environment.  There are more people than you're aware of that would be happy to support you and your students with taking technology use in your classroom to a whole new level.  

Be brave, be bold, and watch the magic happen.  The students will thank you for it and that's all that really matters in the end.