Sonya did a short pro-d session this afternoon with some of our teachers. Her session title: “I took the red pill”.
She ran through using Powerpoint/Keynote, Screencasts, and podcasts. But time and again her emphasis was not on the technology or the tools, but on the meaningful engagement of students. It was about students learning transferable skills and teaching each other as they learned.
For this presentation, she showed the first video here to start things off. Here are a few quotable quotes from her session:
“In 5 years I want to run a paperless class.”
“As a new teacher, I don’t think of it as a issue when one student doesn’t have the technology available. That’s not a problem, just something to work around.”
“I push technology in every project I do, but of course I make it available to my students to do a poster or paper presentation if they want to or if they don’t have the technology available to them at home.”
“What if you don’t know everything? Students love knowing more than you and teaching you.”
Sonya is a digital teacher. She gets that it isn’t about the technology but about engaging students in meaningful ways. She is brand new and yet ahead of the curve. What I really liked about this presentation was that she didn’t just ‘sell’ technology, she mentioned the challenges too… from her iTouch being stolen (it was returned) to technical issues causing her to load programs on 25 iTouch/ipods only to have to reload 15 of them the next day when students should have been using them. These are not deal-breakers, simply challenges to overcome.
As she talked I thought about how many teachers get fed up with technology and give up. Imagine a teacher going to a photocopier and it doesn’t work, so they say, “That’s it, I’m never using that again!” Or a person getting behind the steering wheel of a car for the first time, struggling, and then never driving again.
What makes Sonya a Digital Teacher is that she sees the value that tech tools offer and she overcomes the challenges they present (fearlessly). Sonya understands the potential of POD’s, and she is starting her career at a point that I had to evolve to:
I’ve seen a real shift in my own thinking recently. Forget whining about access, disregard the slow speed of change, get over the obstacles! Go after meaningful results. Engage and empower students. Be a leader and a role model. Opportunities, Access & Obstacles
It is exciting and inspiring to see a new teacher, confidently and fearlessly sharing her learning with a group of teachers, who in turn are equally interested in, and engaging with, new teaching and learning practices. Kids today are part of a YouTube Generation and they need digital teachers to help guide and inspire them to be lifelong learners, equiped for a future that I myself cannot truly imagine.