Do No Harm
Do No Harm! I think that is my big takeaway from my summer learning thus far.
I have been focusing on how best to support teachers after the great influx of devices and tools over the last 2 years. Schools went from computer labs, carts, and shared devices, particularly at the elementary level to 1:1 in a matter of months. All the new tools: web conferencing, screen casting, LMS, digital curriculum, etc. The great shift happened, now what?
I participated in the Apple Learning Coach program (highly recommend) and attended conference sessions on coaching with this focus in mind. The general theme was about how to make the most of this new one-to-one world we now find ourselves. But the boots on the ground, my fellow Integration Specialist and coaches, expressed worry. How can schools which were not 1:1 and could not afford to be before sustain this level of technology richness? How can we respect all that our fellow educators have recently been through to be supportive and not set them up for failure when (if) all this vanishes? How can we encourage them to build a strong robust foundation so they can withstand the buffets of the next new initiative?
First TALK to teachers and LISTEN to how things are going, what is working, and what is a struggle. A survey might be employed, but personally, I cringe when I see one they do not allow for a discussion, a give and take, and follow-ups. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Use examples of group work with one shared device, or classroom stations. Examples that don’t require 1:1 but could easily be scaled up if there is 1:1 availability. Don’t focus on specific tools as those will change but focus more on the whys and good pedagogy. For example; how story telling can support comprehension or why to use video and audio for students to express their understanding. Support the strategies, workflows and habits that can be used regardless of the type of device or the tools at hand. As educators we often talk about transferable skills this should be the same for supporting teachers. We need to help teachers achieve long term success and not just how to use the next new tool.