Over the past month and a half, I’ve been leading a technology support group for the faculty that are working on the grant pilot project. This time is meant to be a time for them to step away from everything else they are doing, to learn about a way they can infuse technology into their classroom. The focus is both on how to use the technology, but more importantly, how to teach with the technology. Essentially I talk about the hardware and the pedagogy to make it work in the classroom in a meaningful way. I go in with very little in terms of an agenda and the meetings last no more than an hour. In other words, we spend about an hour in focused play time.
What I’ve noticed now after doing a few of these is that regardless of how complex or useful or (insert adjetive here) the technology tool I’m showing them is, they are gaining technological confidence. Many of the people I’m working with are very reserved with technology and have preferred to not use it in the past, but they are taking the initiative to come to these meetings to learn one thing. But as I’ve learned after doing this, the faculty end up asking more questions about technology, regardless of whether or not it is related to the topic at hand. They have the chance to ask the questions and interact with the technology without any interruptions. Once their questions are answered, they try something new and get more questions. Then we try to answer those and they try something new again. It’s a cycle and one I’m really excited about.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that we all need to take time to get together with our colleagues, ask questions, and interact (both discussion and hands-on) about a technology. Just one thing with no interruptions. This isn’t necessarily a new concept, but I think it’s not something we typically do with our colleagues. Or at least not in a meaningful way (i.e. monthly PD typically doesn’t count).
So my question to you is, have you taken the time to play lately? We have, and it’s great!