Starting Slow

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Being both a teacher and a life long learner, the idea of learning something new is present each and every day both in the classroom and at home. We as teachers are always looking to learn new things and then share what we learn with our students with the ultimate goal of learning in mind.

Recently I have found myself in a place where I am learning new technology at an exponential rate. In leu of our district preparing to become a unified Microsoft district, the past months have been filled with trainings, as well as introductions to new programs and devices. I have met so many incredible educators and my PLN is growing by the day. At times, this path has been bumpy and the drive has not always been smooth. But what I am starting to see emerge is a love for learning that I haven’t had in a while.

I have been looking for a challenge. Something new to work on and get better at. The challenge presented through our district has been many things—tiring, confusing, frustrating. But at the same time it has also been empowering, encouraging and exciting. In a matter of months I have learned so many new things and have added so much accessibility and differentiation into my lessons. I have been given this new toolbox full of things to help fix my so called educational car as it continues to drive down this road we call education. And I might ad—it has never looked better!

Now take that excitement and transfer into the classroom. My brain is filled with all these new lesson ideas and ways to integrate and highlight them within my lessons. The only problem is that my students may not be at the same point in their tech journey. In fact, I can tell you that in my case they aren’t. They aren’t even close. I had planned out this amazing lesson—chalked full of accessible technology, engaging interacting and digital collaboration—only to be blindsided by the realization that my students didn’t even know how to bold their words with the big, black B.

(Pause inserted here.)

A very,

very,

long

pause.

I was instantly disappointed and frustrated when it became clear that my master lesson was going to take much longer than anticipated due to student needs for more direct instruction. But after some reflection I realized that this is okay.

Taking your time is okay.

Moral of the story: take tech slow. It’s okay to meet students where they are at. Actually, we need to. It’s imperative. We as teachers need to make sure we are doing our students a favor by teaching them the right way to use the tools in the most meaningful and effective ways. Throwing tips and tricks at them in an unorganized manner, or failing to fill in the gaps they may have will only lead to more misconceptions and bigger problems for students down the road.

So we will soldier on together. No student left behind. If we need to get out of the car and push it for a bit we may. In the end, the speed we learn our tech will be the same as the speed we take in our content knowledge—student paced.

The Merrills