September 28, 2019 by Dr. Robbie Barber
When I put on my technology coach hat (only part of my job), I’m always confronted with limitations of time, space, energy (mine & theirs), and interests. Am I really improving things?
Time: I “reserve” Tuesdays to share technology tips because it is one of two days a week I have an aide. The problem is that also becomes the day that I can teach in classrooms, attend meetings, and “all other duties as required.”
Space: I use the tight space behind the circulation desk to create a playground area where teachers can try out the technology lesson on actual equipment. Sometimes, I expand into my office, but there isn’t much room in their either.
Energy: The required demands on teachers’ time is getting longer, which makes optional (even fun!) professional development more of a chore. And, the increase in meetings for everyone is draining.
Interests: The balance between showing teachers what they can use RIGHT NOW in the classroom, versus showing them POSSIBILITIES is a very fine line. (Plus, it’s boring to me to repeat the same set of lessons every year.)
So, how big an audience do I need for my technology lessons? It turns out that one interested teacher will tell at least five colleagues. Two interested teachers that know each other will talk together to be stronger in the use and tell everyone they work with in content or on their hall. I offer lessons to a faculty of 100+. I average 15 visitors to the tech lessons each week and several email requests.
Does it have an effect? One technology lesson was on putting a signature in their email. Yes, it sounds basic, but how many teachers know how to do it? The follow up emails showed that sometimes you need to help teachers cover the basics.
In September, one Tickling Tech Tuesday lesson was on how to use Wakelet – a social media method of bookmarking anything on the internet. Wakelet has expanded to allow people to add text cards and to limit sharing to a classroom or with the whole world. In this case, Ms. Wilson took the lesson and ran with it. She designed a Webquest on Vaping for her 9th grade ELA students using Wakelet. The lesson was met with excitement from the students and was a roaring success. Check out Ms. Wilson’s Wakelet: https://wke.lt/w/s/cjz7lr