I love this quote. A quote about change and challenge. Change can be challenging. But I love a challenge…. most of the time.
The world is changing, our students are changing, IT is changing and teaching is changing…. Who’s managing to keep up?? Teaching, learning and schools have all been ‘changing’ for quite some time now. Ask anyone who teaches and they’ll say “its changed since I was at school”…. Yup. It most certainly has. For lots of reasons beyond the scope of this post. The point is, ‘keeping up’ presents a challenge.
Well, in a bid to keep up, and help those in my team to keep up, one question has really been bugging me… Where do we even start? Most ‘IT’ learning sessions I’ve been to have been loaded up with a crazy amount of amazing things we ‘could’ do….. The sheer potential is overwhelming! Where do I even start?
Lucky for me I’ve recently attended a couple of ‘Immerse Yourself’ learning sessions in Perth aimed at schools and teachers. The basic purpose of these sessions were to share ideas and strategies schools have implemented (or in the process of implementing) in a bid to integrate technology effectively and efficiently. It was really interesting to see what other schools have done and are currently doing with technology. Was invaluable to see the sheer potential technology now provides. For me personally, this comes at a time the school I currently teach at looks to introduce one-to-one iPads starting in Year 7 next year. We currently have a bit of a mix, Laptops in Middle School (7-9) and iPads in Senior School (10-12). The aim is to eventually have all students with an iPad, with the option to also BYOD (bring another device).
With change comes some uncertainty from the staff as they attempt to figure out what this ‘new learning tool’ means for them, their teaching, their programs and their time. Obviously there are some extremely confident and IT savvy staff ready and rearing to go, but there is also a few who are refusing, hiding, struggling, stressing or ‘drowning in the shallows’. Sounds like a regular class of students really. All at different levels, all needing different support, motivation, methods and resources to ‘move forward’.
So lets start here… with some great blog posts I’ve recently read that really helped ‘clarify’ my attitude and approach to IT… If only I’d read these 5 years ago!:
- Redefining instruction with technology – “Just bringing new technology in your classroom and working it into day-to-day routines isn’t enough.”
- The 5 best times to use technology in class – “How many times have you been asked to take a lesson and find SOME way to integrate technology? This feels a bit backward to me, and it’s time to see technology integration become more organic. The key question – When is technology most effective?”
- 10 Lessons I’ve learnt using tech in PE – “You are the most important thing in the classroom, NOT the technology that you bring into it. Not the iPad. Not the app that you’re using.”
- The SAMR model: Engage in deep learning and authentic context – “The SAMR model aims to support teachers to design, develop and integrate learning technologies to support high levels of learning achievement.”
On top of these articles, the “Immerse Yourself” sessions then gave me the following ‘key learning points’ about ‘integrating technology’ on a large scale at school (ie. introducing one-to-one iPads)… note ‘personal opinion’ here, not backed up by any kind of research:
- The potential is massive. Technology is truly capable of enhancing learning. The quality, creativity and collaboration I saw in a mere 30mins of wondering about a school yesterday has set the bar at a new height… we either keep up or fall further and further behind.
- Infrastructure and IT support are crucial. Obvious statement but without adequate infrastructure, support and/or maintenance, IT can be a nightmare and real time waster.
- Behaviour management in the classroom has changed and I’m not sure we’re all keeping up with this. Behaviour management needs to include how you manage the use of ‘technology’. Appropriate use of technology (from teachers and students) should become synonymous with creating positive learning environments or the phys ed uniform policy (as thats a big deal at my school). Just knowing a few ‘short cuts’ to shut things down, turn things off or lock access can assist with this…. but not all teachers know these tricks.
- I don’t agree with going completely ‘paperless’ (yet). I believe notebooks and/or files still have a place in the classroom and a variety of teaching strategies is essential.
- You don’t need to throw out your programs and start from scratch. The challenge is to find ways to enhance and transform our programs with technology… If technology can do something better (whilst still keeping the learning intention at forefront), we should be aiming to use it. Not everything needs technology.
- How Technology is introduced to students is important. Its important to develop positive learning attitudes and positive online behaviours in students from the start. Students need to view ‘technology’ (iPad or Laptop) as a valuable learning tool, not merely a gaming device, camera or social media medium. **Important to note – if teachers don’t use it as a learning tool, it won’t be thought of as a learning too by students** (ie. students need to use more word documents and the web)
- Ongoing staff support and upskilling is essential. Integrating technology will not work if staff don’t understand why or know how to do so. The SAMR model is the ‘recommended’ method of progressing people with technology (read more below).
- When it comes to staff support, differences need to be accounted for. Like I mentioned previously, staff are all at different levels. Support needs to be targeted to the individual. One-on-one coaching will be needed for some (ie. team teach with a tech savvy colleague to see a few things in action). I would love to see time given to teachers to support their colleagues >>> “Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to shift whole groups we forget change occurs mostly one person at a time”
- Staff need to understand ‘the bigger picture’…. The process of change (ie. moving from laptops to iPads, or introducing one-to-one devices at a school) needs to be made clear. Meaning the grand plan of introduction and integration across all year groups should be explained. Targets, dates, details, who’s doing what when and what staff roles/responsibilities are in it all.
So now I’m looking towards using the SAMR model to help the Phys Ed team progress with technology.