Teaching the iGeneration is a workshop where teachers and administrators sat together – vulnerable to the new technologies that our students mastered long before us. For this particular workshop this is as it should be. Tech initiatives that are top down are doomed to struggle, if not fail, in my opinion. The learning curve is too steep and the price is too high – literally. In my last post I referred to the Teaching the iGeneration workshop and its ability to “Help… your students (or yourself professionally more on this later) work and learn collaboratively…”
I am finally getting around to "the more on this later" piece. As a school begins to define its direction technologically – Google Apps for Education, 1 to 1 initiatives, Tech infrastructure, cell phone policies, BYO Devices/Technology – training their staff on this proposed new reality is really important. This is true to ensure that teachers can leverage the technology efficiently AND how to put it to good use for their students. This is where leadership is vital.
In my leadership role (Department Chair) I talk to teachers all the time about modeling and providing exemplars for their students. As I listened to Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) last week in Dallas he discussed the collaborative learning opportunities we could provide our students by utilizing tools like Google docs, Diigo, Voicethread, etc. As a teacher he energized me but just as quickly as Department Chair he challenged me. MODELING! The practical classroom application of many of the ideas we discussed were to get students thinking, writing, talking, and working collaboratively. I want to do that with my classes! I’d like a lot of teachers to want to do that with their classes!
My goal is to use some of these applications, as Ferriter suggests, in my role as Department Chair with the teachers. Many of the strategies we talked about were cool and new – new in that I had never seen them before! If I can share one of these ideas every few weeks through normal communication and departmental “stuff” I can then have follow up conversations on how this site could also be used with kids.
If it is not clear I would encourage you, if you’re so inclined, to attend Teaching the iGeneration very worthwhile!