Let’s Talk About: Keeping on Track with Tech

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I was fortunate to attend the 2019 VSTE conference in early December in dual capacities: the Source for Learning is a sponsor for the conference, and I was representing the ISTE Board of Directors. It’s always nice to see what is happening in edtech in various places, and this was no exception. From Micheal Bonner’s keynote to interactions with individual teachers, I took three major ideas away from the conference that will help me “Keep on Track with Tech”…

  1. The heart of education is still our relationship with our students.  As Micheal Bonner urged us to “Be Better,” he also reminded us that you can’t withdraw something from students that you haven’t deposited.  It’s a lesson that all teachers learn sooner or later: relationships are everything. As Mr. Bonner pointed out, we come back to this over and over in different ways because it remains a truth throughout the education system – students to teachers, teachers to coaches and administrators, administrators to central office.  Without trust, we don’t make progress. Technology can’t be used to replace relationship.
  2. One of the best ways to help teachers understand a concept is to let them “play” with it.  Some of the best-attended sessions were those that promised to “break things down” or have hands-on experiences – like our makerspace session. While we all want to do our best by our students, we simply don’t have time to figure out how everything works on our own.  Sessions that give us basic knowledge, and some starting points are the most helpful. As a coach, I’ll need to keep this in mind as I plan PD;  Teachers need to play, so I need to plan that time in my sessions.
  3. Our students still struggle with basic literacy skills. Whether we teach students whose primary language is English or not, teaching English language skills is still a focal point for us. About one-third of the sessions had some literacy component. I’ll plan to incorporate strategies for ELA while I teach how to use tech tools.

How do you plan to “Keep on track with tech” next year?  Let us know by commenting below.

About the author: Ruth Okoye

Dr. Ruth Okoye is the Director of K12 Initiatives at The Source for Learning. As a long-time technology coach, Ruth shares ideas and strategies for professional learning and thoughts on how to motivate yourself to “dig deeper” into educational technologies.

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