Up until that point my philosophy was simple. If you can't reach me, I don't want to be reached. I know, I know...I was young and naive.
What I discovered after purchasing my first cell phone was that I was distracted. I went from never on a phone, to being on it constantly. I had zero balance.
I will admit I still have moments that my connectivity is very high. Some of my days involve putting out a "fire" or expecting a very important message. Other days, I feel as though the balance is improving.
What I like about cell phones and similar devices is that the information is in the palm of your hand. If I need assistance I can get it in a blink of an eye. I also like the fact that I can "share our story" through pictures, tweets, phone calls and emails. This is an important feature in being transparent, relevant and positive.
What I don't like about cell phones and devices is that they can become a crutch. For example, I began teaching in the year 2000. At that time, I had no projector, no Smart Board, no iPads, no cell phones...nothing. I had one teacher computer and one student computer. And guess what...I was perfectly fine. My lessons were hands-on, I utilized visuals through imagination, video (I would use a VHS recorder and bring in tapes) and drawings. For years I didn't have resources in the palm of my hand and I was just fine. I believe my students were fine as well.
Then along came 21st Century Teaching! I'll admit, I was excited for my first smartboard and projector in the classroom. It revolutionized how I taught. I felt as though I could "enhance" my lessons and truly help my growing number of visual learners. I loved the technology and my students responded very well to it. The interactive component to the Smart Board allowed for a new way to formative assess and the projector allowed me to ditch the old VHS recordings.
But then came the day when my Smart Board wasn't working and then my projector began to overheat. Oh dear! I was in a panic, how would I teach? What would I do? I specifically remember calling the help desk and just being angry.
Later that night I was trying to figure out what to do the next day. It was at this moment that I had my own self-talk lesson. I told myself that for years I never had these tools and I was perfectly fine. I had become so reliant on the tool that it no longer was a tool...it was all about the device. I pulled out a few old lesson plan books and note cards that I used in the past. I reminded myself about the importance of Being Present. Don't make it about the technology, make it about the individual!
Every now and then I have to remind myself to shut down. When I walk into a classroom I may snap a few pictures and tweet out a cool moment, but I also connect with kids. I don't want to be the adult that has his face in the device.
I say all this for a few reasons:
First, why is the device out? If you have a device out, I hope it has a purpose. Are you posting on your class Facebook page? Are you tweeting a cool picture that you just captured? Are you fact checking information? Are you updating assignments on Edmodo/Schoology?
Second, if your technology crashes should it be the end of the world? For years most of us never had these tools. We didn't have cell phones, iPads, tablets and more. I get it, many lessons involve these tools, but I challenge you to remember the days before these tools. I bet you did more than survive, I bet you had days that you flourished! Keep those memories in your back pocket; they may benefit you in the future.
Finally, Be Present! If you have a device out make sure you have a very specific purpose. We must Be Present in front of our kids. We are the role models and we need to set the example of shutting down and focusing on people, not devices.
NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Monday, October 20th: String Team 3:45-4:30
Tuesday, October 21st: TEAM Meeting 9am
Wednesday, October 22nd: 6:30pm 5th Grade Curriculum Night
Wednesday, October 22nd: Mobile Dentist at Warner
Wednesday, October 22nd: K-2 Assembly 8:45am
Wednesday, October 22nd: String Team 3:45-4:30
Friday, October 24th: Staff Meeting 8am
Friday, October 24th: 5:30pm - 8:30pm Warner Fun Night
Articles Worth Reading:
Popularity Grows for Year Round Schooling @EdWeek
6 Keys to a Classroom Makeover @thomascmurray
The Science of Fear @edutopia
A veteran teacher turned coach shadows students... @grantwiggins
Start a Reading Revolution: Flip your class with blogs @edutopia
Empathy and Trust @TonySinanis
10 Reasons Why Non-Readers Don't Read - and how you can change their minds @scholastic
Connecting in your own building @Fearless_Teach
The Next Time You're Ready to Give Up On A Student @TeachThought
What if this was your districts grading policy? @justintarte
40 Things I want to tell my kids before they're too cool to listen @marcandangel
Professional Learning That School Leaders Need and Deserve @E_Sheninger
Videos Worth Watching:
He guessed what? (4 min)
She said what! (1 min)
Well done boys! (4 min)
How to learn from mistakes (10 min)
My Wish...great story! (7 min)