Skip to main content

The Great Wall

Having 13 devices in my room has been a dream come true. No longer can I complain about not having the tools to move my students' learning into the 21st century. No longer can I complain about not having time in the computer lab (an outdated use of a room anyway). No longer can I sit and wait until change happens. No longer can I make excuses.

The responsibility is on me to use the tools, all the tools, in my classroom to make learning happen, meaningful, and wait for it, enjoyable. The 4C's (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity), that are so widely talked about, are also my responsibility to incorporate into my classroom.

What I am starting to realize more than ever, is that the devices I have are just additional tools in my classroom. They are not the be all end all. These tools definitely bring a lot more potential into the classroom, but it is still the pedagogical skills and relationships that are built that make a successful classroom. The 4C's, something I once thought could only occur with devices, can occur without devices just as easily. However I hesitated in years past to really give them a fair shot in my classroom because I thought I had to have the technology to make them happen. Do the devices help? Absolutely but the devices aren't a necessity. And that's what I'm seeing in this journey more and more, that with no excuses or complaints left to make, it is still up to the teacher to incorporate new ideas and skills that are needed for the students. It's still up to the teacher to take risks for the betterment of their students.

The more this year goes along and the more experience I get with running a blended learning classroom, the more I understand the importance of incorporating technology but also how a teacher's roots in the profession are just as important, if not more important. Technology or no technology, a teacher can't wait to make positive changes. Each excuse and complaint is like brick, and if one isn't careful, a great brick wall will quickly be created that prohibits one from seeing over to the other side. And right on the other side of that great wall, are the answers and ideas one was looking for all along.


Popular posts from this blog

Not Just Any Summer Assignment: A VR Summer Learning Experience

This summer, I intend to go to Disney World and other parts of Florida, the Outer Banks, Ocean City, New York City, a Kansas City Royals baseball game, the Grand Canyon, the White House, a NHL Finals game, a cruise, and I plan to go to all of those places without leaving my house. How? With the Cardboard Camera app, Google Cardboard, and Google Classroom. I have given my sixth grade students one last assignment, and this assignment will run all summer long. Their assignment is to bring along their classmates on their summer vacation trips using the Cardboard Camera app, by uploading their images to Google Classroom for their classmates and myself to view on our Google Cardboards (we had a Google Cardboard make and take night in early May, so the students are really into VR now), and finally collaborating on a Google Slide (Take Us With You On Vacation). Benefits to this assignment: 1. Let's start with the obvious. It is really cool. Who doesn't want to try out VR? The students ab…

My First Few Weeks as Elementary Principal

On January 23rd, my 15-year career as a classroom teacher changed dramatically, as I began a new role as interim principal in one of my district's elementary schools. Then on January 24th, my wife and I celebrated our third child being born. It was a week full of emotions but most of all excitement.  Being a father of two, I knew what to expect with our third child. Late night feedings, sleepless nights, changing diapers (lots of diapers), and a return to the 5S's. But being a first-time principal, it was a lot like being a first-time parent. You could read all the books and get all the advice, but until you actually went through it, you couldn't really understand it.  Much like bringing my first child home from the hospital after she was born, I had some, well a lot, of anxiety going into my first day as principal. I had scheduled a full faculty meeting to introduce myself, and while I was only an interim principal in another principal's building, I still had to be myse…

Enter The Twilight Zone with Blended Learning

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone. 
I feel that opening part of the show The Twilight Zone directly relates to my school year this year. This is my second full year of running a blended learning classroom, and I feel as if in some way my sixth-grade students and I have crossed over into the Twilight Zone. Strange but wonderful things are happening in and out of my classroom, that I have not, unfortunately, witnessed before in my 15 years of teaching. Students are embracing the idea that learning can take place anywhere, anytime and that their voice matters to others, as they enter a whole other dimension in Google Classroom. They are seeing learning opportunities on their own outside of the school day and wanting to share their experiences wit…