Often I hear teachers say, “technology never works for me,” or “every time I touch a computer, it breaks.” I can’t even count the number of times a teacher has asked me to help fix a computer problem, and when I perform the same action with them, the problem seems to have gone away. They say, “of course it works now that you’re here!”
No doubt if you are the resident go-to person for technology at your school, you have heard similar proclamations.
It is understandable why teachers develop a fear of using technology, as there are many things that can go wrong! Computers and technology actually do a fantastically good job of pointing out the gaps in our understanding. Moreover, when technology fails in a lesson, you have 30 pairs of eyeballs watching you fumble your way around! It’s incredibly nerve-wracking to have your lesson fall apart on account of a simple computer issue.
However, my ability to resolve tech-related issues quickly has little to do with my inherent skill with technology, and more with the fact that I have already experienced an incredible number of mistakes, mishaps, and malfunctions using technology. As it is with learning any new skill, the only way to get good at something is by making all of the mistakes that make you feel like you’re bad at it!
Integrating educational technology is not easy: It requires innovation, patience, and tenacity. Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to teachers about a technology that may be new to them, I like to start by emphasizing the role that resilience will play in our eventual success. By reminding teachers (and students) that some failure is a necessary part of the learning process, we encourage them to embrace the challenge of it, and not lose sight of the end goal.
Of course, sometimes technology even fails for so-called experts. If lesson 1 for integrating educational technology is to be resilient, then lesson 2 must be to always prepare a backup plan!
Photo Courtesy: Bjorn1101