A Prep-Day Chat

I had a really neat chat with Greg, one of the new staff at my school Friday.

He and I were chatting about his Information Processing course. If you’ve ever read that curriculum, it can feel older than microfiche.

Our school is a rather small K-12 rural school with one computer lab. Though you’d think access to computers wouldn’t be an issue, it is. The timetable goes up and it’s a scramble to get time in the lab.

I’m lucky because in my classroom space I have five computers. My home room has seven students. But my senior ELA class is a bit greater than that. And we like to be together during the creative process rather than scattered around the school finding open computers … But that brings me back to IP.

I teach senior ELA, senior History and a few other courses. The first thing I do every year is get my kids started or refreshed in their on-line spaces. And as my divinely patient principal can attest, last June as the schedule was being made, I ached to be assigned to teach IP so that I would have the time and the access to technology with all my students, while we learn all our subjects. Alas, it simply wasn’t possible for me to teach IP.

Here is the beauty of yesterday’s conversation with Greg: He and I chatted about how our courses could be mutually supportive. We decided that, in all subjects, the kids will be working with me and with him. He’ll set up our Google accounts the first week, then our other accounts, all those essentials that, in the past, I have taken time to set up in ELA or History. By using collaborative teaching, we are ensuring that tech skills are valued alongside ELA and History skills.

As Greg and I chatted and bounced ideas off each other, I began to feel like something magical was happening. I often hear that we should try to make our classrooms a collaborative space, but wow, Friday that collaboration became lived in me, and in my colleague. Imagine how that might transfer to our kids? Think of the possibilities for student engagement? This makes the little hairs on my arms stand up, you know. Good, good stuff.

I was at school Saturday, and Greg and I talked about Friday’s conversation. About how special a jumping off point it had been for both of us, he having shared with his partner, me with mine. I asked Greg if I could share here.

You know, years ago I believed that technology was about tools. Now I know, for me, it never will be. Yesterday, in my room, prepping for the first day of the new school year, I sought many expert voices, all of them knowing way more about the tools than I. I asked my Learning Consultant, one of my students, a colleague. But what struck me as Greg and I were chatting was that I had been organizing with these expert voices technology-based learning experiences all day. What struck me was that I’m simply passionate about the need to embed technology in meaningful ways for our kids.

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