Tips for Hesitant Technology Learners

Dave Burgess writes in his book, “Teach Like a Pirate”, about his dislike of the phrase, “it’s easy for you, you’re creative.”  He goes on to say that everyone has creativity in them and that by saying this phrase, you are discounting all of the work that person put in to whatever they did that you deemed “creative”.  No one is born with the ability to paint, play a musical instrument or the ability to teach.  We have to put forth effort in order to grow in any area, including creativity.

Let’s transfer this to technology.  No one is born with an iPhone in their hand.  No one comes out of the womb with the ability to create a website or to develop a lesson that uses technology to deepen student learning.  When people say it must be easy for me since I am a techie person, they are downgrading all of the work and effort I put into learning new things when it comes to technology.  I love to learn about everything and technology is one of those subjects that I put forth the effort in order to learn.  I am not afraid to fail either in my learning.  I make mistakes.  I have crashed many a hard drive in my days and I doubt I am done with that yet.  We have to remember those important ideas about learning not just for our students but for ourselves.

Tips

  • Acknowledge that everyone has to learn something and that not everything comes easy to everyone.  It takes some effort to learn something and you should not be afraid of that effort.  If we are afraid to learn something new, how can we expect our students to learn something new.
  • Know that there are others who are in the same spot as you.  The beauty of technology is that it changes so quickly that no one is an expert for long.  That also means that we get countless opportunities to learn something new and to share that learning.
  • Ask for help.  Just as we tell our students to not just sit there waiting for help, we have to remember that we can not just sit there waiting for someone to come to our classroom to do the work for us.  There are people in the school who can help you, there are even students who can help you.  Help will only come when you ask for it.
  • Do not be afraid to fail.  Failure is an important part of the learning process and it should not be a scary thing.  If you fail, then try again.  True failure only happens when we give up or worse, if we never try.  
  • Play, play and play some more.  People are so scared of new things that they forget that playing with something is a way of learning.  Download that app, open that site, start that program and just play around with it.  Do not think that you need to create a perfect example the first time you try something.  I love trying out new tools and just seeing what I can do with it.  I only go looking for further information after I have had some time to play.  Do not be afraid to play.
  • Enjoy learning again.  So many people forget that the key to school is the focus on learning, not content.  We succeed when we help produce learners to send out into the world.  If we were solely focused on content, we could just hand them the textbook and walk away.  We must remember that we are learners too, not just the students.
  • Start small, pick 1 or 2 things to try and learn before moving on to more.  Do not feel you need to do everything at once.  Many people fail to start learning because they assume they have to learn everything.  There are so many different tools that can help you, but it helps to focus on the ones that are easiest for you to use in the beginning.  As you get better, move on to the next one and keep learning.  
If you look at those tips, not one tool is ever mentioned.  It is about the learning that takes place in the classroom more than the tool being used.  That doesn’t mean that we can avoid using technology in the classroom, it is too powerful of a tool to ignore.  The teacher that fails to make use of every tool available to them, fails their students.  We are here to help our students, not to fail them.

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