Monday, February 16, 2015

Like Never Before

"I am not a teacher, but an awakener." - Robert Frost

I have an introduction I give before introducing Google Apps to students. Before I get to the various apps themselves or how to sign in, I point out the power of digital tools. I want to wake the students and their teacher up to the why before talking about the how.

I noticed a spark in the room when I first did this. I had the students' attention at a deeper level. We knew something different was happening in the room. I’ve honed my message over the last year and a half and now when I’m done with my 15 minute intro, I see signs of life more clearly. They ask questions related to their dreams. They start thinking about doing things they care about.

This ed-tech stuff is far bigger than time saving tips or ways to increase test scores.

Last week I spoke to a fifth grade class. The next day I got a note from three of them who wanted to make a comic book about a novel they just finished. The teacher (a hard worker who has been slow to integrate tech tools) said the talk changed her outlook toward technology.

Teaching them the how of the Google tools is going to be a lot easier from here out.

So here’s the short outline of what I say in the first few slides. This is it, but it makes a big difference.

1) Tools help us do more. Consider a task like digging a hole by hand, using a shovel and using a backhoe. The best tools make an amazing difference.

2) The computers on our desks, in our bags or in our pockets are the most powerful tools known to man for many things.

3) What do digital tools help us do more of? There are many things, but for school:
  • Connect like never before.
  • Create like never before.
  • Learn like never before.
4) Many people use technology to play like never before. Some use it to do something big. Which will you choose?