iPad Basics Training

This is the training presentation I made for my teachers on the basics of their iPad.  The teachers had had their ipads for a week before I gave them the basics training.  I think that was a really good plan because the teachers were ready to learn how to use their ipads effectively.  They had been using their ipads, but showing them the shortcuts helped them immensely!  I don’t think the teachers would have been ready for the basics training the same day they got their ipads  they would not have been focused on the training.  HERE is a handout I gave the teachers that goes along with the presentation.

One of the most pressing questions from the teachers was, “How do I use pinterest!”.  I am not a huge fan of the pinterest app so I use pinterest in safari.  I also found a website that gives directions on how to add a “pin it” button to your iPad safari browser.  Also, along those same lines, after I showed the teachers about Evernote in our productivity training (I will post that later), they wanted an Evernote Clipper on their safari and I found a website that gave those instructions as well.

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Teachers and Technology

In my job as an Instructional Technology Specialist I am in the classroom with teachers every day.  I am teaching alongside other veteran teachers and I really have the best of both worlds!  I get to go into classrooms and help teachers understand how to apply technology, but I also get to learn so much from the teachers I am with on a daily basis!  Every day when I am in a classroom I also learn from the teachers I am teaching with!  I get to see how teachers phrase directions, how they engage with their students, and how they simplify complex ideas!  I love my job in that not only do I teach, but I learn something new everyday – from other teachers and the students!

I have to say that when I took this job I really thought that teachers didn’t use technology because they didn’t want to learn something new.  I do still think there are a lot of apathetic teachers, but I also now know there are a lot of teachers that don’t understand technology!  I was in a classroom yesterday helping a teacher use her ipad.  The kids were telling us tips and tricks right and left!  The teacher was amazed at what the kids already knew about the ipad that she didn’t!  I told her that for the students, the knowledge of computers and technology is intuitive; they don’t have to be taught how to use the technology because they ALREADY know!  She turned to me and said, “I have been teaching for 20 years, you can put me in any grade level and any classroom and I know how to deliver a lesson.  HOWEVER, I have no idea how to use technology, this scares me because I don’t know what to do!”

I think that is really where teachers are right now.  It isn’t that they don’t want to learn, it is that the technology isn’t intuitive to them as it is to their students!  Teachers are not generally clickers – pressing unknown buttons scares them (we are rule followers – only doing what we are told!), whereas kids are eager to know what every button does so they just press all the buttons.  I always give my students “playground” time when I am introducing a new technology.  Playground time is time to just go in and play in the software or application.  I think what I figured out yesterday is that in professional development and working with teachers I also need to give playground time for them to just sit and play with their devices, encouraging them to press all the buttons and see what they do!

Mostly teachers do want to learn, but what they see in front of them with technology is so intimidating they don’t feel like they can press forward.  Teachers – please understand it is OKAY to make mistakes in front of your students and to LEARN technology from them!  I would just say to all teachers, just keep pressing forward with baby steps!

Instructional Technology Specialist!

I am about to embark on a brand new journey on my life as a Obsessed Technology Teacher!  I have decided to revive this once tried blog again to chart my progress in my new role as an Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS)!  I am moving from teaching children to teaching teachers and I must say I am a bit nervous about the experience!  My school, King’s Ridge Christian School, is moving to be a technology leader and they are using the ITS position to take us there!  I loved using technology in my own classroom so this should be a journey and experience to help teachers see the value of technology in the classroom.  I am getting nervous about this new adventure and have been working this summer to this of ways that I could help teachers.  I know how much teachers hate sitting through IT training sessions during pre-planning so I am trying to come up with ways to show teachers how to do things that will use in their classrooms right away.  I decided first to make teachers a technology brochure – a guide where I have listed helpful instructions such as posting pictures to their websites, how to login to email from home, and how to create their online gradebooks.  Additionally, I have added basic computer shortcuts, important phone numbers, and helpful websites for lesson planning.  I also thought that during the IT training sessions we would get the the teachers activotes up and running and I would show them how to create agenda boards for their activboards.  What other helpful tips would you appreciate during an IT training session?

Online Collaboration by Teachers

I love the online collaboration that is available to all teachers now!  I spend hours searching the internet for the best lesson plans and the best games and the best webquests around!  I love that teachers share the work they have done and are willing to put their work out on the internet to share with other teachers!  I admit I am severly creatively limited and I find it helpful to see what other teachers are doing!  I have great difficulty coming up with creative and original ideas on my own but I am pretty good at taking another idea and building on it.  However, one of my biggest pet peeves in education is the competitiveness of teachers!  I was thinking about this yesterday at school; Teachers aren’t willing to share their brilliant ideas with teammates or others at school because of competitiveness – the desire to be “The Best Teacher” at the school!

That mentality makes me crazy!  I know that I am not really speaking to the people that share their information online because I am sure they are the teachers, like me, that share everything they do with everyone around them – probably making everyone crazy with the latest technology idea we have come up with!  I think teachers often lose sight of the MOST important thing that we do and that is TEACH!!!!  Our one main goal and our one main driving force has got to be – What is best for the students that I teach! If we teach our students that colloboration is so important and then we as teachers don’t utilize the same mentality are we really helping our students?  My students ask at nearly every lesson, “Mrs. D, did you make this lesson or did you “borrow” it from someone else?”.  I tell my students all the time that working with others will only make me better – because I understand that others have talents that I can learn from.  My principal said that the award, “Teacher of the Year” only fosters competitiveness among teachers and for that reason my school does not have a teacher of the year.  I think that is a great stance – because we should be striving to make each other better for our students – not competing with each other.

I worked in the business world for 5 years before becoming an educator and I did not see competitiveness in the business world the way I see it in education.  I wonder why teachers are such a competitive group and I wonder why the online world has opened up a free-source of sharing that hasn’t made it’s way into the classrooms yet?  I love going on line and learning from those around me and I wish more teachers in the classroom would realize that we are all on the same team and by sharing and not competing we are only making our students stronger!