Mindsets

IMG_0033As a fairly new educator, I feel as though my thoughts and mindset surrounding teaching are still very much in the formative stage. Throw in a new facet like technology, and I’ve got a whole new set of foundations to set.

During one of our lessons in the first week of our course in Galway, we were asked to read the views of several educators who have published their thoughts on the role of technology in the classroom. I explored the fascinating and somewhat blunt musings of education blogger Will Richardson. When I first began reading, I wasn’t sure that I would appreciate what he had to say. He seemed rather extreme. However, I realized that he is right. His whole premise of students having unlimited access to information is true. Teachers are no longer needed as human encyclopedias, as students can access information on their own…this is the mindset that has to change. Teachers are now needed to facilitate learning, not deliver it (Daily, 2012). His extremism is, in a way, necessary…calm writers and speakers generally don’t get a lot of attention. In order to create even incremental change, one must push for radical change.

During the lesson, my classmates and myself performed a round-robin activity called chalk talk. We walked around the room and silently wrote our answers to five different questions in the new mindset of our reading. I have used this method in my own teaching to great avail, and I will forever find it useful (however low tech it may be). It was a great, quick way to get the gist of everyone’s readings without having to create full presentations on them.

I love learning from other teachers…it’s amazing how many great educators there are in this world. After completing the chalk talk, we shared out many of the ideas, questions, and insights that were written on the papers around the room.

My classmates had some really good insights about learning and the role technology plays in the 21st century classroom. The most powerful part of this lesson for me was not the chalk talk itself, but the post-discussion. Our instructor wrote a brainstorm on the board of all of the “mindsets” that teachers need/have in regards to technology in education, shown in the photo at the top of this post. You can see how many thoughts were buzzing around in my head just by looking at the brainstorm.

After the lesson, I have to admit, I felt a bit intimidated. The technology is changing faster than the classrooms! How can we possibly keep up with it all? There are so many tools that I am dying to try in my classroom…what is the best way to go about it? Do the tools support the learning? Are we trying to incorporate technology just for the sake of technology?

However, after my moment of feeling infinitely small in against an infinitely large technological world,  the purpose of the lesson sunk in. It’s the mindset that needs to change first, not the teaching practice. I don’t have to use as much technology as I can get my hands on to have a great lesson. If my mindset is centered around students learning, and understanding they learn differently because of technology, then I can relax a bit about finding the right tools. That part can come later. I can walk with baby steps to incorporate technology into my classroom. Adjusting my mindset is the first step.

Daily, J. (2012, September 14). Why School? TED ebook author rethinks education when information is everywhere. TED Blog. TED Blog: Further reading on ideas worth spreading. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://blog.ted.com/2012/09/14/why-school-ted-ebook-author-rethinks-education-when-information-is-everywhere/

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