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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ed Tech makes me feel smart...and a little stupid.


I challenged myself last week by attending my first “ed tech” conference (#cuerockstar). Why was it a challenge? Because I’m a struggling techie. When I read in the conference description that it was for “intermediate to advanced technology users,” a little of my high school asthma came back to haunt me. Intermediate..uh oh...not Laurie. Wheeze...

It’s easy to denounce something when you are “not good at it,” so I decided to immerse myself in some scary territory this summer. Each day at #cuerockstar I had to talk myself down when I got home. Laurie, it’s okay. Breathe. You can handle this.

You see, there were some breakout sessions at this tech conference where I didn’t understand one word the presenter said, everyone else seemed to, but not me. They were incredible presenters and fantastic people, but I didn’t have any context for it to stick to. What a powerful lesson. I reflected back on the school year when I had my students come to me in tears, feeling less than. Feeling unworthy. Feeling stupid.

That’s how I felt: stupid. And that is not a good feeling.

But then something kind of cool happened. I came back Day 2 and understood a little more because I could relate it back to a term mentioned in Day 1. I referred back to my little spiral notebook that I had feverishly been writing in the day before, and I highlighted the trick in Google Chrome to make the omnibox into a calculator, then I highlighted the #Makey Makey (and bought one for my daughter’s birthday), I tweeted using @ and # and received responses almost immediately from the God-like tech presenters that had wowed me earlier in the day. I even made a #thinklink on my daughter’s face.

I was learning, and that is not always a comfortable or enjoyable process because it has to include struggle and inquiry in order to create deep meaning in the learner.

My goal for next year is to have everyone of my students blogging and then to hopefully incorporate blogging into every content area schoolwide. SInce starting my own blog, I have felt inspired and challenged. It has been a form of therapy and connected me with so many passionate educators across the country. It has been, in short, amazing and rejuvenated my teaching in year 12. I want my students to feel this, write for a global audience, and empower them with a tool they can take into their future and use in any aspect of their life they feel passionate about.

In order to do this, I need technology. I need it.

So, this summer I begin working on my plan to incorporate Blogger into my classes. I will stumble, I will need help, I will be uncomfortable, but I will grow with my students as a learner modeling and embracing the mess.

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