As part of my participation in the #EdublogsClub blogging challenge for educators, I’m writing this post in response to this week’s prompt to describe our classrooms, offices or other spaces in which we work. While I do have an office in our “central district office”, I also spend a lot of time in our 5 school buildings where the teachers and students I support spend their days. I spend time in other teachers’ classrooms, in the several computer labs in the schools, and even in the “teacher workrooms” and libraries of the buildings where I sometimes set up a temporary office from which to work! Much of my job does NOT rely on a specific physical space. For example, as I write the first draft of this post, I’m sitting in the teacher workroom of a school building 40 miles from my office at the central district office building. I had 3 short support meetings with teachers in this building earlier today and later on I’ll be meeting with another one about how our 1:1 iPad program can be even more effective for her students. During this “down time” between my formal meetings, I’ve set up shop on a table where teachers eat lunch in the room where they make copies. I’ve answered some emails, enrolled new students into software programs that I manage and I’ve spent a little time reviewing new posts on blogs I like to follow using Feedly, a reader to help manage my time. And now I’m taking a few minutes to write the first draft of this blog post!
But the photos I’m including are snapped from my desk. The top photo is a bulletin board that has turned in to a make-shift “motivation” board. The pictures of my family and co-workers show some of the important people in my life! But the quotes I have on there are even more helpful to see into who I am and what is important for me. Here are a few of them typed out in case you can’t read them all in the photo:
- Pencil Labs????? (This was a motivation for why we needed to implement a 1:1 technology program that has been on my board for several years. We have had iPads for all students K-12 for several years now, but I still like the analogy. Would you tell teachers and students that they had to “go to the lab” each time they needed to use a pencil????)
- You can’t get to outer space in a rowboat. (This one is just to remember that we need to pick the right tool for what we want kids to be able to learn and do. And it can be important for kids to learn to pick their own tool.
- Write! Write poorly. Write poorly in public until you get better! (Just motivation and challenge to continue to try to update my blog without my hangup of perfection before publication.)
- The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything. (I’d love perfect technology resources, perfect policies, perfect colleagues, perfect students. But we can do good things without a perfect situation, so we should!)
- No Heroes! (I need to embrace growth in other people and take the position that it shows growth for our district when “I” become needed less for technology support.)
- Leadership is about creating other leaders. (When I left the classroom and took my position as a technology integration specialist, I viewed myself more as a support person rather than a leader. And I still see the line as blurred between the two for my responsibilities. But when I read this thought somewhere, I knew that it was definitely part of my duty to our district and to the students in our district and to our profession. One person cannot make a big enough difference without spreading their influence!)
- Good teaching may overcome a poor choice of technology, but technology will never save bad teaching. (So important. This supports the premise that “technology amplifies,” as well: when a teacher is provided good technology their skills will be amplified: teachers with good pedagogical foundation have a new creative tool in their tool belt, but teachers with poor pedagogy who don’t know how to manage kids or handle unexpected events technology can make that even more obvious. So if your goal is to support successful technology integration, it must also be to support the development of sound pedagogy in the teaching staff, as well. And if technology doesn’t make the impact you wish it would, you sometimes have to be willing to look more deeply into the reasons why.)
- Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? Do I focus on the obstacles of my job or on the opportunities? Do I make excuses or do I set a positive example for others? Do colleagues and students see me as being full of enthusiasm or full of something else? Do I brighten up my schools when I enter them or when I leave them? (I can’t recall where I came across these questions, but I hope my constant reflection upon them helps me stay a positive influence!)
- Economically disadvantaged students, who often use the computer for remediation and basic skills, learn to do what the computer tells them, while more affluent students, who use it to learn programming and tool applications, learn to tell the computer what to do. (Neuman, D. (1991). Technology and equity. Available at http://www.ericdigests.org/1992-5/equity.htm and first read by me at Dangerously Irrelevant, a blog I really appreciate! I think this quote leads nicely to this one last “image” I’m including that is a thought I try to keep to the forefront when I work with teachers on how to integrate technology: I want them to create!! Not just to consume! And I sort of love that in this photo you see the green-painted dowel rods that I have for working with green-screen projects with kids!)
Talk to me: What do you think of the quotes on my motivation board? Do any resonate with you? Do any offend you? What quotes keep YOU going? 🙂