One of the biggest misconceptions about being a district or even school-based technologist is that we know everything that there is to know about edtech. As a district specialist serving multiple PK-12 campuses, there is also this expectation that I can walk into a PK classroom and assist a teacher just as well as I can a secondary classroom. I will be the first to admit that this is not the case at all.
Yes, I understand learning and I can talk the power of creativity with any grade or subject. However, specific age-based or even non-math contextual ideas about student learning are not my forte. This is why collaboration is so important. “Stealing” an idea from the amazing Lisa Johnson, I will start a google doc in a heartbeat and send it to individuals for their input. Collaboration has added a layer to my job that I would be lost without. This is also why a platform such as twitter is critical to my job…but not in the way that you may think.
Anytime that I am called to work with teachers at lower grade levels, I always collaborate with others prior to, during and after. It helps that I know quite a few people, like Matt B Gomez, that are not only sharing examples from their classrooms but also indexing ideas. For me, it’s not important for people to think that I have all of the answers. I don’t and I tell them that. I share resources that I found along with the individuals who are publishing. When it comes to finding more subject specific uses of technology, it’s critical that teachers understand that they too can find and evaluate sources. It’s their content area and truthfully, they should. Hopefully by sharing how I learned it, they too will be inspired to do the same.
The biggest non-secret of my job has been the use of twitter. Yes, I love connecting and learning but the growth that I have experienced in terms of understanding some key important aspects of learning have been huge. I’m connected to a multitude of my fellow edtech peers but it is in the connections with the “non-edtechs” that have impacted my job the most.
There are tools and tech ideas that I’ve definitely gained through twitter. I have even tweeted questions to my collective PLN regarding specific software and have received instant feedback which I was able to immediately pass on. As great as the instant feedback has been, I still don’t consider that game-changing.
The parts of twitter that have impacted my job the most are the moments that happened outside of the tech. I am a stronger professional developer because I’ve engaged in conversations about professional learning and how we often get it wrong. I’m able to work with teachers, even in non-math areas, concerning technology integration because I understand that without purpose there is no progress. I also understand that no matter how amazing the latest tool is, if the learning environment benefits better from a non-tech lens…you do that because experience paves the way to understanding.
I also get that passion breeds learning and as long as I can convey that and teachers can do the same, our kids will be alright.
That, my friends, is called growth through following the right people and reading blogs and books outside of one concentrated area.
I may not know everything but I know how to collaborate with those who have the knowledge that is needed. I also understand the value of twitter with and without the context of a tool. I’m empowered to think outside of the tech and part of my job is making sure that teachers can do the same and that is game-changing.