Sunday, October 12, 2014

Taking "Time" To Learn and Apply New Technology Is A Lot Like Cooking, Cleaning and Exercising

The technology "Time" word and discussion continually comes up in many conversations, workshops, webinars and in services I provide nation wide. Many teachers seem to get "stuck in a rut" to find adequate time to apply new technology understandings and skills once introduced to them.  I at times have a hard time understanding this statement or reasoning when it is presented to me. If you are truly passionate about improving yourself professionally and want students to be more engaged with creative mobile learning strategies in the classroom, we make "Time" to make these meaningful connections of learning happen.

An analogy to put this all into perspective of "Taking Time" To Learn and Apply New Technology Is a Lot Like Cooking, Cleaning and Exercising" is a comparison of cleaning your house, or learning to cook a new
family entree, or finding time to exercise. If you do not make time to apply your new skills you have learned you will have nothing to show for it- with the exception of living in a dirty house, eating processed food/TV dinners, and ultimately becoming overweight. No body wants that! The same goes for  technology, if you do not use it- you lose it- and have nothing to show for it- end of story!

In my home, my husband and I make time everyday to clean a portion of our home- we love a clean home and it is the satisfaction of knowing that everything has its place. It should be the same philosophy with technology or learning anything new, take time to make time to see where it best has its place, where it fits into your curriculum, and then the satisfaction will come of knowing the technology does have its place of importance in your professional and personal life too!

At times I power clean in a frenzy for 15-20 minutes and then move on to my professional work. Even in 15-20 minutes of any cleaning- I get in a quick workout too, but it is amazing what you can accomplish to make things shine and get the satisfaction of a job well done to move onto the next task. Same can easily apply with technology, focus on a "technology frenzy of learning" for 15-20 minutes each week, and set the timer and stick to it. Focus on one or two items you want to improve upon a specific tech skill- this can be done through listening and watching to a 3-5 minute YouTube EDU or Teaching Channel video clip, and then practice and apply the new gained concept or skill. It also could be participating in an online after school tech webinar that personally and professionally interests you. Or you collaborate through a Google Doc of
adding a new tech share/resource each week with your colleagues, and state how it is used to enhance a lesson. If each teacher contributes to this Google Doc each week- just think of the wealth of resources of digital ideas to utilize in your classroom for the upcoming week. Or perhaps- making a point to meet up with a collaborative team of teacher friends before or after school at your local coffee shop to exchange 15-20 minutes of "tech brewing of ideas" to add to the positive culture change, creative conversations and positive mindset of making tech fun and rewarding in your classroom practices again.
Just remember, one needs to make time, time to prioritize, time to make it relevant to you, time to stick with the task at hand and time to document/reflect on the new learning so it has purpose. Some teachers keep a technology checklist or learning log as to make sure they prioritize their schedule to include 10-15 minutes of new learning each week. Then they check it off their list once applied in their classroom practice, shared their new learning in a 2 minute conversation with a teacher friend for feedback, and then reflects on their learning of how it has improved their instructional approach, engagement for students or collaboration between student conversations. 

I hope these examples will inspire you to make a new weekly effort to try a technology idea, app or resource to energize your instructional approach. To jump start your October efforts, I am including Innovative Educator Consulting's "Technology Bytes" free monthly enewsletter as a PDF. It is full of wonderful resources to immerse yourself in 5, 10 or 15 minutes of new technology learning this week. ENJOY!