|6a. Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the Standards•S and Standards•T.|
Technology has made learners out of all of us. In our personal lives, for example, we have had to learn to use online and mobile banking in order to get access to our funds and use e-mail, texting and social media for communication, especially if we want to talk to our children. Everything from shopping to travel has changed because of technology. It speaks to how important relevance is when learning about a new tool. The tools we use in our personal lives we make choices to learn either because it is the most convenient way of accessing something important or it makes our lives easier. We are willing to put up with periodic changes in those technologies because we usually see the value of the added service or the cleaner interface to our daily lives or we really do not have any choice but to adapt.
I do not believe that embracing technology has anything to do with age. As I mentioned in Not All Learners Want to Learn What You Have to Teach, I believe that the adoption/innovation curve is the same in any generation. Our students may have grown up much more open to using tools like texting, video, images and social media but most of their usage is consumption. They are not natural producers and creators with technology. Coaches can help teachers make this distinction and help them realize that we have to teach skills related to the tools we want students to use. With that will need to come a flexibility and openness for teachers to learn along side or ahead of their students. It is not always necessary to be the expert in the room when it comes to technology. If we all adopt a growth mindset about technology we will be able to continue to learn along with our students.
I feel that one of my strengths is my willingness to learn new things. I have been developing a professional learning network that I am always learning new ideas and strategies from. The blogs I follow keep me abreast of new tools to try and the conferences, edcamps and other learning opportunities that I participate in give me the chance to network with others and find out what is happening in other districts and learn from others. I have tried to give back in that area as well by presenting at the Northwest Council for Computer Education conference the last two years. Last year I presented about our Future Ready Teacher Cohort model and this year I co-presented a session on the SAMR, TPACK and TripleEFramework models of technology integration.
Four years ago I initiated the NorthSound Tech TOSA group to bring together other coaches that are working in similar technology support roles in their districts. It has been a source of inspiration, collaboration, ideas, and support and has even resulted in some friendships outside the group. It is so much less isolating to know that there are others struggling with the same types of problems and the same reluctant teachers in their schools.