I see you, fearless classroom teacher.
You’ve been given access to numerous technology tools thanks to increased funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a high likelihood that every one of your students now has their own device and many of them have internet access at home.
You’ve got all this “stuff” now and you’re freaking out.
You’ve never had this much access to technology in the past. You’ve struggled to make a class iPad work or tried to plan days that you have access to a computer lab so you can integrate some technology into your classroom.
Now, you’ve got devices everywhere. You may even have subscription access to new tools from your school or district to use with your students.
And you’re more stressed than ever.
What in the world are you going to do? We’re still trying to feel our way through this pandemic and you’ve barely been keeping your head above water.
I implore you, fight the urge to do everything at once. Fight the urge to use everything you have access to before the end of the school year.
Keep it simple.
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau
Everyone loves to use the latest and greatest technology tools in their classroom. And believe me, there are more tools released every day and all of them are competing for your attention and your students’ attention.
The problem is this: Many times, after you use a tool one time, just as the great B.B. King said, “The thrill is gone.”
I’ll be the first to admit that, in my first few years in education, I was a rip-roaring proponent of the “use everything!” philosophy and crashed through apps and tools with abandon.
Of course, my students were frustrated. So were teachers around me. I always considered myself the “crash test dummy” of edtech, mostly because I had a knack for using technology.
What I very often failed to consider was how much other people struggle to use technology. They’re not me. They don’t have the same passion I have for technology.
Their struggles have nothing to do with intelligence or even desire but with unfamiliarity and lack of understanding.
And what we don’t know, we fear.
You have options to help you keep things simple.
Focus on mastering one tool at a time. Yes, you’re going to be asked to use tons of stuff by your administration and that pesky technology department (yes, I’m a card-carrying member of the latter for my district).
Do as little as possible when you are starting.
Master. One. Tool.
Master the implementation. Master your usage. Master how your students use the tool. Master how this tool helps you be a better teacher.
Master how the time you gain back from using this tool is used to engage more fully with your students.
Take a look at the technology infusion portion of the 4 Shifts protocol to provide a focus for your work with students.
Stay simple. Stay sane. Stay brilliant.