Motivational speakers usually don’t impress me. Brought in by a well meaning leader, the “You can make a difference” inspirational monologue, usually leaves me more dispirited than before. “Do what I’m doing, stand in my shoes for a week, and then make this speech”, has always been my internal mantra to their 20 minute routine.
Computer experts with “solutions”, in the same way, also often leave me cold. Listening to another well practiced pitch that explains how this new technology “…will revolutionize your classroom…” leaves me equally skeptical. “Experts”, I think, need to install the package on the school network, model the technology to teachers and students, make it available for staff to play and experiment. Then, if it works, you will inspire.
My best learning has been when I’ve had time to explore, play and interact with an expert that takes the time to go beyond teaching and models (and expects) best practices. Wesley Fryer is such an expert. Instead of opting for the the motivational approach, and delivering great lectures on technology use, the “expert” has set out explicitly how he intends to model appropriate uses of the technology to the class.
This approach inspires me. It allow me to see how the others are playing, experimenting and designing teaching and learning activities for other classes. I know that as I start climbing another steep learning curve, my inexperience with new programs, my confused explorations with new websites can be mediated by another , who has stood in my shoes, and is able to empathize with my position, and offer me examples and assistance.
My class this year are also going to be learning about ICT and how they can integrate it into their teaching. I’m “the expert” this time, and it’s likely that I’ll sound like the motivational speaker. To ameliorate any dispirited feelings, I intend to model good technology use to the class. I’m going to focus on
- Collaborative learning
- Acting as a networked sherpa
- Engaging in reflective thinking about my teaching practice
- Having fun
I know that the route to computer competency is littered with well intended courses, certificates and experts. I’m hoping that a bit of explicit modeling might create some engaged learning. Subscribe to this blog and I’ll keep you posted.