Day 96 (of 188) My tech frustration
Today I remembered why I am frustrated with tech today. Via Facebook I saw that one of my former grade 4 students earned a “full-ride” scholarship to a school in Michigan. Absolutely fabulous.
His mom said how he still remembers our year together and I reminisced about the time we took our ‘tech learning’ to share at a board meeting. It was a great act we put on to promote mobile laptop learning. First of all I apologized to the crowd because ironically I forgot to bring my laptop with me…and then one of my students in the audience raised her hand and said “that’s okay Mr Landy – I have our presentation one one of our schools iPod touches (they had just been released)!”
Sadly I said – “that’s nice “V” but I also forgot a projector….” (I think the superintendent at the time had an idea where this might be going but nobody else did!)
And that’s when my hockey-loving grade 4 student was able to say “no problem Mr Landy – I have a projector right here in my backpack!” – and sure enough he pulled out a hand-sized portable (internal battery) projector that the two of them connected the iPod to the handheld projector and shared a ‘day in the life’ of our laptop-using-school/classroom! I’d share the video but in changing BC foipop rules and regulations, I’m nervous about making public an old MP4…
We used laptops (the good old white iBook) daily to differentiate math and spelling to research and create presentations in a 90 minute timespan; we showed how we were creating music and making animated videos and Public Service Announcements for our school rules and for a variety of contests (our BC Hydro ad was even aired on our local public-access channel). We also had a handful of new-fangled iPod touches that we used with reading centers (audio book differentiated for lowest & highest readers) as well as in math and writing (remember first editions didn’t have a camera….)
And today this reflection led me to better understand my internal frustration. In two districts (I left that school to become a VP in another district and have since moved again) I haven’t been able to replicate that environment – lots of “no’s”, “we cant’s” and other blocks, including the distractions of being a VP which means not staying in one school long enough to make a change – as I was able to restart without the “vice” part (hmmmmm…is there an ironical metaphor there?) to creating a whole-school culture “catch up” to what existed….7 years ago….
In our learning community we “can” do most of what happened then, just not yet at the grand scale that we once had. “Because it’s an “i”pad not a “we”pad”…..even though individual logins hasn’t been needed in our small-group of mobile devices – in fact even ‘back in the day’ we didn’t use network logins because the “non logged in laptop” allowed us to create faster and easier (wifi not bogged down with back-and-forth traffic). But ownership and use of tech is changing: personal wherever possible and collaborative almost as frequently!
And I know our backbone/infrastructure is better than anything I had in the past – our tech department has made some huge efforts to get connections ‘where they need to be”. And outside the traditional walls of school there are great tech-education connections – from an update on my former hockey student to a new connection in Tasmania. Inside the four walls, while we are breaking through them with eportfolios & viewing/documenting learning “as it happens”…we still have limitations: price point of desktop vs laptop vs range of tablets; fights over OS; security; login/sharing….and on and on….
I’m frustrated because I shouldn’t be trying to get ‘back’ to my classroom of 7 years ago….I’m frustrated because I should be shifting my mindset and looking to leapfrog ‘what was’….even when/if we are not there yet…