Friday, July 29, 2011

Re-thinking the way we re-think

Seagulls...are they related to this post? Yes. Why? I leave that up to you.

Despite the profuse supply of The Bachelorette video clips and the like, the internet is still a grand source of inspiration and thoughtfulness.

Any savvy consumer of information would have by now encountered by now. I stumbled upon this article there and it very concisely phrased what I've been trying to put into words. Granted, the writer is talking about workspace design and working, while I'm talking about technology and teaching. But in essence, it's the same.

I love technology, I really do. But my use of it for teaching is not what will make me a great teacher in the end. I can show endless Khan Academy videos, use those little remote control "voting" things for students to punch in their answer, wear out my (non-existent) SmartBoard and (arrived! or at least my colleague's has; I'm assuming mine is here too since the principal ordered both of ours at the same time, although I haven't checked yet) ELMO, and go through enough cans of Dust Air cleaning my LCD projector and it STILL will not make me a great teacher.

What will make me a great teacher?

~ practice
~ life-long learning
~ bouncing ideas off of colleagues
~ professional respect and trust
~ discovering new ideas in both familiar and surprising places
~ experimentation (aka "making mistakes")
~ time and space to recharge my batteries

So what will make my students great learners? Laptops for all? Fancy phones that can text their answers to the professor's iPad? Olympic-sized school swimming pools? Shiny, new hardback textbooks? I don't know about all that.

I only know that this coming school year, I will fuss less about the arrangement of student desks in my oddly proportioned classroom.

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