Monday, March 23, 2015

My take-away: The Swiss Army Knife of Education

I spent five days attending different sessions at the CUE 2015 Annual Conference and the Google West Coast Summit. I met amazing people and am still processing a lot of what I learned. I got excited about like-minded thinkers who helped give me fresh inspiration and celebrated new ideas that will fit wonderfully into my plans for the rest of the year, as well as for next year.

As I returned to school today, my students were excited to see me back with them. They were also excited to hear about the conference. I asked two of my three grade levels to include in their Five Minute Writing assignments what their hopes for technology in education are. It was wonderful to hear student perspectives' and how they aligned with what I spent five days hearing and learning. It all fits together so nicely.

As I spoke with my seventh graders, I shared a few thoughts of my own (in connection with what I heard them saying). We talked about technology as a tool.

Is technology a hammer? No.
A screwdriver? Guess again.
A wrench? Nope.
Pliers? Still no.
I know! It's a corkscrew!

So, just what kind of tool is technology?

Here it big take-away from five days of Education Technology.

Technology is THE Swiss Army knife of education.

It's a tool that can be used in different ways at different times. It can do amazing things. It can do big jobs and small jobs. It can make the difference that we need to make. But, it is something we can keep in our pocket. We can have it ready to go. But, there is much we can do without it as well as with it. Everyone needs to have a pocket knife, but it is a Swiss Army knife that is the utili-tool that many adventurers rely on most.

If you're packing for an Edu-awesome adventure, be sure to pack in technology and use it differently at different times.

Students need to be familiar with technology and able to use it under varying circumstances. In order to help them along with that, we need to be familiar with it under varying scenarios ourselves. I have often been excited by the fact that my technology all works so well together. I am an Android "baby" and love the Google. I appreciate greatly that my two tablets and my phone all work well together. I have set out on a Google adventure. But I must also become familiar with other forms of technology and how to use them to help my students through their Edu-awesome adventures. I need to prepare them for what is still to come. I must prepare them as they are the LEAD LEARNERS of tomorrow.

There are three components to technology use in education that work together.

1. The hardware
2. The software
3. The knowledge (or know-how, if you will) to use both

I'm still building my technology tool chest, but the best part is that it's not a heavy case that I must lug around. It's a pocket-sized Swiss Army knife that I will have ready to go.

I returned to the classroom today from five days of education technology awesomeness to have at least two technology "fails" within the first two periods of the day. My WiFi gave me issues and I struggled to get my new Chromebook to do what I wanted it to do. But, you know what, all went well overall. We made it through the day, had a little laugh, and moved about our business. I listened to what my students had to say and we are ready for another day in our educational journey.

Happy Monday! Let the new journey continue!

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