How often have we stood in front of our students and said “Don’t be shy to speak up if you don’t understand” or better yet “Ask questions, that’s what I’m here for”? I know I’ve spoken my share of those words in a classroom.
How about when students have to present a project or do a presentation and they give some excuse about how they forgot material at home or their USB key isn’t working? I know that frequently my answer was “You should have had an alternate plan in the event that something such as this occurred”.
What about “You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, take a chance, don’t be shy”? I’ve uttered those words in some way, shape or form at some point as well.
It was only a few weeks ago when I began teaching students in a Science and Technology course online. Wow! Talk about a path to self-discovery. I was terrified. How would I deal with classroom management when I wasn’t present in a real classroom? What about a blackboard and chalk? I would always complain about how dry and dusty chalk would make my hands and now I was experiencing withdrawal! What about the technology glitches? What would happen if I couldn’t access my slides or if there was some sort of problem with my headset? The list went on and on. I am here, still alive to talk about it today though.
This experience led me to question what educators really fear when it comes to using technology in the classroom or in my case, technology as the classroom. Are we being hypocrites when we tell our students not to be shy to ask for help when we are afraid to ask for help with using technology in the classroom? As teachers, we know that something may not work right off the bat. What do we do? We have a plan B, just in case. So our fear of experiencing problems with technology, couldn’t we have a plan B as well? I’m sure some of you skeptics are nodding and rolling your eyes. I probably would be too and by no means am I an expert but change is taking place now. Let’s embrace it instead of fearing it! Easier said than done, I know. Change is something that happens slowly and taking baby steps is easier than taking a giant leap forward. With each small step, confidence will build. Isn’t that something that we as educators try to instill in our students? Isn’t that the whole point of life-long learning?
Educators are beacons that guide and steer. We encourage our students to take risks in order to learn more effectively. Perhaps we should learn from the objectives and standards we set for our students.
Here are a few inspirational clips that have helped me in my journey:
What are you doing to embrace educational change in the form of technology?
Pedagogical Consultant and Online Teacher