Last Friday I had the opportunity to spend the day with a mentor, and now friend, Jen Hegna. During our day she mentioned my ‘tech abilities’ which I shrugged off multiple times-but on that day it had me really thinking: “Why do I dismiss my abilities in technology so easily?”.
- Age really has NOTHING to do with abilities. I will admit it here. I learned how to type in high school on a type writer. My first computer was well out of college and my first years with “the internet” was spent waiting….and waiting….for the dial-up connection to actually work (think type in a web-page, go make your dinner, and maybe it will be up by the time you get back to the computer). Even when teaching I missed the SMARTboard bus by a bit-so leading a school when/where technology is an embedded practice was quite intimidating. But what I lack in prior knowledge, I do my best to make up for in a willingness to take risks and learn.
- Tech Savvy. It took 2 years at my current school, and a brave teacher, to finally correct me and say “It isn’t ‘The Pinterest’ it is ‘Pinterest'”. No joke..I mean what Elementary Principal does know about Pinterest?? Me. One year ago I knew nothing about coding and the connection to early learning. My initial skills with technology were well below novice (I could almost create a new category). But my personality is one of a learner so I became more active in Twitter-joined a few Voxer groups and listened for a long time. I was able to listen to ideas from: Sarah Thomas, Brian Costello, Rosy Burke and Doug Timm who connected the dots for me in regards to technology, equity and the importance of these tools in our student’s learning. Brad Gustafson coached me on our schools first attempts at “flipped” staff meetings and continues to challenge my thinking with his new book: Renegade Leadership. Adam Welcome helped me, step-by-step, in creating a coding club as part of our #SAVMP mentorship last year and Mark French was (and still is) a great listening ear as we both implemented programs at our schools.
- You need a Title or Tech Position. At the 1-12 level in our district we have an incredible wealth of knowledge in our Tech Integration Teachers. As a way to gain this knowledge and support the bridge from Kindergarten into 1-12 I asked to join the group, best decision ever. I have learned so much from listening to the different challenges, successes and opportunities each level has from the ground up and now have more people within our district to call upon if I have questions or want to talk and idea out with another teacher. Another avenue has been to give teachers explicit permission to go out and try technology, and support the learning and encourage them to have others join in as well.
The secret to adding “tech savvy” to your current list of skills…..take a risk, connect with others, and never be afraid to ask a question. Being a connected educator is not just about digital connectivity-but it is also about connecting with educators around you to enhance collaboration and create best practices while learning together and sharing out with others-no title required.
Good luck with your journey and I hope to learn along side you as well!
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