At the time, I believed her.
And you know what? I still do. Some of the greatest teachers I've ever known are able to engage students with a story--to break down the most difficult equation to its simplest steps--to take the most tedious task and somehow make it engaging.
All of the great teacher talk is--well--great. And I salute great teachers. Teaching is an art. Taking something that is mundane and somehow making it more in the eyes of a student is truly a remarkable feat.
The need for great teachers will never diminish--I have faith in that.
But the world we live in today is so undeniably different than the one we lived in just 15 years ago when I began my journey as that 22 year-old, naive (girl, really) hoping to one day be able to count myself among those who had changed lives--who had inspired.
When I look around my own school and into the vast web of the wider-world of connections that social media has afforded me, I see resistance to digital learning.
"That's not really teaching," I've heard, or, "We're working ourselves out of a job."
We live in a post-industrial society. Our current educational system is a direct result of the industrial revolution, and that model has really changed very little over the years. It is time for a change.
But, wait...I'm not advocating doomsday on our noble profession...just a slight update.
Think about it. Our students will one day go to work in a digital world. Doesn't it make sense that they should be educated (at least partially) in one?
There will always be a need for teachers. We just may need to rethink the model from lecturer and whip to facilitator and coach. We're not working ourselves out of a job by going digital--we are simply redefining our roles and opening a whole new window of opportunities for our students.
With that said, going digital does not mean going teacherless (paperless and teacherless are by no means synonymous--remember slates? queue Little House theme). As a matter of fact, the digital model is simultaneously teacher and student friendly. I've got five reasons for that.
5. You Don't Waste So Much Time Copying
Save a tree--save the world (save your sanity). Since I've gone to the blended classroom model (I use a hybrid digital and paper interactive notebook model [see the video below]). Copier jams no longer make me want to claw at my eyes and rip out my hair. I breeze into work at 8 and skip out at 4.
4. Students Want To Be On The Digital Devices
If I assign my students a foldable in their interactive notebooks or something comparable in their digital notebooks, most of them are way more engaged (translates into on task) working on the digital model.
3. Paperwork? What's That?
Seriously, in the digital classroom, students even submit traditional pen and paper assignments digitally. It's true (see how in the video below). That means I carry no papers home. I sit on the sofa, watch Game of Thrones (write the next book already, George R.R. Martin), and grade with my IPad.
2. Everything is Beautifully Streamlined
I thought I had struck gold when I discovered QR Codes, but the digital realm is pure, unadulterated platinum. Oh, the exquisite beauty of assigning a task in google classroom and having everything right there at the student's fingertips--links, assignments--all a mere click away.
1. Differentiating and Facilitating Happen OrganicallyYou heard me. The unconquerable beast of formative assessment, of regrouping, of helping small groups and individuals happens NATURALLY in the digital classroom. Generate self-grading quizzes in google forms. Divide and conquer. Remediate. As students submit work, look at it and provide instant feedback. Early finishers can go to enrichment stations. There are so many ways the digital classroom and differentiation go hand-in-hand.
The digital age has not impeded great teaching--it has simply redefined it. We are in a new century, and to teach our students as if we were in the last one is to do them (and ourselves) a disservice.
Get the FREE Guide to Blending Your Classroom HERE!
Digital Learning Day 2016--Why Should You Try Something New? Because Your Students Will Thank You.
My students thank me all the time for the new “stuff” we are doing this year. Go ahead--take the plunge! Believe me, if you have access to any sort of technology (even one device), then do it. That one tablet or laptop can open up a window to a universe of instructional opportunities. Your students will want to get to that tech center.
Digital Learning Day, February 17, 2016, is ultimately about bringing equal opportunity to our classrooms, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. It is about the importance of having access to Wi-Fi and up-to-date technology in our schools. Many schools have technology that is not working or that is out-of-date. State and local governments are now focusing on getting it all fixed so that our school children can succeed in the 21st century.
Here's the challenge--On February 17, 2016, try a new lesson that focuses on discovery, analysis, and exploration. Give your students the gift of a new opportunity by using Google Classroom, MS OneDrive, or an App. And don’t forget to share what you are doing in your classroom on social media to celebrate Digital Learning Day with #futureready. To help you get started, we’ve teamed up to share an amazing selection of blog posts and classroom activities that are designed to propel you and your students into your digital learning adventure.