Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Can We Learn From Quotes?

I love a good quote.  I love to read something, and have it bounce around in my brain a few times, only to have it all of a sudden, make sense in so many ways different than my initial interpretation.  Most tend to see a good quote and can’t wait to hang it on a wall.  Those of us in education love to find a quote that speaks to us, and immediately think it will speak to our students in the exact same way.  It doesn’t always work like that.
Lately, what I have been trying to do with great quotes that just “jump off the page” at me, is to:

Collect:  Save the great ones when you find them.  I have found that sometimes it’s hard to go back and find them, even with Internet search engines.  Mostly because we forget who said them or exactly what was said. 

Articulate:  Express your own thoughts and ideas about what the quote means.  Write them down and keep them along with the quote itself.  I have found it interesting to note that after some time has passed, I might see a quote in a different light and apply a different interpretation.  Mostly this is based on my experiences and lessons learned.
Share:  Sharing a quote does not always imply that you have to share what YOU think it means.  To share a quote and then ask others to tell you what THEY think it means may open a completely different application for you.  This can also be a great activity for students as a “bell-ringer.”

Now since this is a technology kind of blog, let’s reflect on the thoughts above through a technological lens.
Some of us continue to struggle to keep up with the fast pace that newer technology presents.  We think that if we don’t get it now, that in six months, the technology will have moved on to a newer version.  This kind of thing frustrates many who feel like they are already behind the eight ball in the technology arena.  And since we didn’t get in on the ground floor, it is impossible to catch up.  And since the systems and tools have upgraded several times, and we still don’t understand the last thing, we grow more and more frustrated…pressured…overwhelmed. (Wow…it just hit me that this is what a lot of our students might be feeling when we introduce new concepts to them…hmm… “Makes ya’ think.”)

Well, here are a few things to think about before I give you a few quotes to ponder.

1.  Most of the tools are very intuitive.  Those creating the tools have to make them user friendly…or else there is not profit in selling their ideas and products to a small percentage of the world’s population.  We just have to conquer the fear that we are going to mess something up, and “jump in there and hang on.” If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or Snap Chat account, ask yourself:  who taught me how to manipulate around those Social Networks?  What class did I take to learn how to post, share and tag?  The answer for most of us is that we either picked it up along the way by trying it out ourselves, or a friend showed us.  Newsflash – the same is true of many of the Web 2.0 tools.  I can’t wait to learn new ways, tricks and tips from the students and other teachers.  People with knowledge just naturally want to share.

2.  Many of the tools work with the same basics.  How to set up an account.  How to add classes or students or followers. How to customize the tool for your needs. How to set up the tool so you can moderate it.  The specifics come in the form of tutorial videos and manuals.  There are lots of tutorials within the sites themselves for how to navigate and learn the new tools.  The Technology Coaches for your school may also provide tutorials…and I know they would welcome the opportunity to assist you.

3.  Time seems to be a problem for most.  Many feel they don’t have time to learn new technology with what they already have to know, and teach to students.  Many tools can be used in conjunction with what you want students to learn…and Newsflash #2 - you can combine several task and tools to help you with “bringing home the point” for students.  They tend to learn better when you differentiate instruction, give them engaging tasks, and allow them to collaborate.  Marva Wilks, of M.W. Consulting, an Educational Technology Professional Learning specialist, said this about combining technologies toward mastering lessons: “This shows concept attainment which is always the goal.”

4.  And here’s the big one…Newsflash #3 – the students are already there.  They are already comfortable with new technologies.  They already know how to navigate around a tool and figure out how to make it work.  They are not afraid to try it out.  When faced with new technologies and new tools, their pattern of thinking goes something like this, “Let’s try this, oops, that didn’t work…OK let’s try something else.  Nope.  How about this?  Yes!  What’s next?”  Allow them the freedom to explore…and then learn from them.  The looming question for us becomes:  If my students are already there, and I’m not…am I hindering their learning?

So with that being said, here are a few quotes for you to ponder.  See them through a technology lens.   Reflect afterward on how you could use them to inspire not only your students, but yourself.  Ask your students how they interpret them.  Ask them to share how they could apply them to their lives.  Then LISTEN.

“If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven't done much today." 

                                                                                                             Coach Mike Krzyzewski

 “Education can be encouraged from the top down, but can only be improved from the ground up.”
                                                                                                             Sir Ken Robinson

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” 

                                                                                                             John Dewey

“After all, we are the instruments by which students learn to write and play their own music.”

                                                                                                             Keith Brown

“If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow."
                                                                                                             John Dewey

“Schools have to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that we don’t know will arise.”

                                                                                                            Andrea Schleicher




1 comment:

  1. As I read the quotes, I realize that educators have to truly look at their own practice. Professional Development and training will help one improve his/her practice; however, the decision to improve one's practice has to come from inside. The Dewey quote epitomizes this concept. As educators we have to decide to examine how and what we teach so that our students graduate with skills to make them successful. A huge component of the work we do requires educators to self-reflect with a goal of concept attainment.