On Wednesday, I headed to the neighbouring district of Maple Ridge to do an after school presentation to about 45 grade 8-12 teachers.

This is what my presentation entailed:

That’s what happened. That was the process. But what were my key messages? What did I want to accomplish? What did I hope the teachers in the room would take away with them?

1. That as Chris Kennedy says in his TEDx talk: Technology doesn’t make teaching easier, but rather that it makes teaching different. It can be frustrating, especially when presenters come in and tell you how perfect technology can make things, but you lack the appropriate support, training or infrastructure to truly make things better. I openly shared some of my own imperfect experiences with embracing technology and inquiry learning. I also noted that as fast as you embrace a new tool, there is someone telling you about the next great tool. And sometimes using technology seems more about the tool, than about better pedagogy.

Different should mean leveraging technology to do things in new ways, which creates opportunities to share, engage, and transform learning in meaningful and compelling ways. It’s not the tool, but how you use it that matters.

2. Model collaborative learning. Stop trying to learn on your own. Leverage a network in some way. Although I shared how my Twitter network helps me, I didn’t tell them ‘you have to get on Twitter’. The fact is that not everyone embraces this tool, and not everyone is ready to try. So, I encouraged them to at the very least, connect with one colleague to work with… Across the hall, across the district, across the world. In addition to this I suggested leveraging the knowledge and leadership of their students.

I also emphasized designating the time to be learners. There is a difference between meeting to share resources and actually setting up times to collaboratively learn. And we need to remember that we are in the business of learning.

3. Pick ONE way to (continue to) transform your classroom. In talking to 45 teachers who chose to come to an hour-and-a-half after school session with only the draw of a free meal afterwards, I knew I was talking to teachers that are already on a path of improving their practice. So, yes, I suggested ‘7 ways to transform your classroom’, but my request was that they just choose one. That was what the Google Document was for. It gave everyone a chance to expand on any of the 7 ways such that they chose a specific action that they could follow through with. They could also build on each others’ ideas, or find someone to collaborate with.

Pick ONE thing to challenge your practice.

Model inquiry learning.

If it involves technology, ensure that the technology enhances or transforms the pedagogy.

Find others to learn with and collaborate with.

Change comes from action, so pick ONE!


5 comments on “Pick ONE

  1. Hi David! I’m Wannetta Fincher, a student at the University of South Alabama taking an EDM310 course. I was assigned to follow your blog for the next few weeks, and I will be summarizing my visits to your blog with a post on 2/10/13. I look forward to your updates, and from what I have already read, I’ll be learning a lot on how to improve my teaching through incorporating technology as a tool. Thanks for sharing about Adora Svitak. She is an powerful presenter with good points. ” You must lend an ear today, because we are the leaders of tomorrow.”
    As I was reading your post, I couldn’t help but think about one of my high school teachers. One of Fullerton’s famous quotes, “makes me want to go hmmmm…” He encouraged us to challenge each other and explore our own questions.
    It shows that you stand behind your philosophy and although I have yet to fully understand what being technologically literate means, I’m excited to find out.
    Your philosophy stood out to me, and in the last few days I have found myself reading it over and over. Already, technology and networking has exposed me to people and ideas that I would have never stumbled across.

    Do you have any tips for a prospective educator?

    Again, thanks for sharing.

    Wannetta Fincher

    Class URL: http://edm310.blogspot.com
    Me: http://fincherwannettaedm310@blogspot.com
    Twitter: FincherW

    1. Greetings Wannetta,

      Thanks to your teacher for pointing you to me… I hope what I share will be helpful. 🙂
      Here are some links I have collected over the years that I consider excellent for new teachers: http://www.diigo.com/user/datruss/studentteacher?type=all
      And you reminded me of this post: http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/things-that-make-you-go-hmmmmmm/

      BUT… My most important advice is not to try to read everything. Be selective! Then pick something challenging to try, then reflect openly and honestly on you blog or with your classmates.

      Enjoy the journey,

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