I recently saw a post from 3 years ago Last Stand of the Late Adopters that discussed how it is hard to effectively connect with our colleagues who are coming late to the tech party. How do we get them up to speed effectively through professional development on to how best use an LMS? The topic is still a very real one for many schools in the K-12 scene. It seems like this group of late comers wants everything to be magical...even supernatural...think The Jetsons meets Disney World meets the Wizard of Oz. And then at the first sign of trouble...a broken link, a misplaced file...spotty WiFi and they are all out of sorts proclaiming the advent of the apocalypse at the hands of Skynet.
So the challenge becomes how to best support this group of johnny come latelys. For what its worth, my approach has always been to show them how my life is easier because of the technology I employ!" And to help them start small! I mean that is the definition of technology after all to make life easier. The concept of a flipped classroom can really be a break for your vocal chords. So many times I find myself up in front of my class like I'm David Blaine or some vaudevillian road act...and that can be stressful and fatiguing. As we get older it can be harder to always have some inspirational Dead Poets Society moment up our sleeve. The advantage of learning how to integrate digital media into our classrooms is that it gives you a break from the antiquated and overrated 'sage on a stage' philosophy. Now we can switch gears and get a much deserved rest from being up on stage all day every day and instead spend our time collaborating and providing individualized feedback through online quizzes and surveys or even commenting in real time on live Google Docs. We can also supplement in modules to help them become independent learners through webquests and wiki trails!.
The best work I see from my students is when I create a vision of "why" we are studying any given topic and then I let them create the "what" and the "how" we achieve it!...something I was inspired to think more closely about after watching Simon Sinek's classic TED talk on "How great leaders inspire action" as well as Angela Lee Duckworth's talk on "Grit: the power of passion and perseverance" and lastly Christopher Emdin's "Teaching teachers magic"
Our kids deserve better and we deserve a more effective way to teach while not wearing ourselves out! Let's save our energy and make sure we can endure, because our students need educators like us in their lives. We have work to do!
So in closing, If you build it (and maintain it)...they will come: colleagues and students alike!