Meeting Halfway

Today’s Contributor: Lee Green

Lee Green is a third year teacher teaching 8th grade history at Lamar. She has dual degrees from Boise State University in history and social studies with an emphasis in secondary education. She is working hard within Lamar as a technology innovation coach, archery coach, mentor teacher, and is on various site teams. Outside of school she enjoys going to the park with her husband and husky pup and watching Boise State football. Go Broncos!

We all come from different backgrounds and have different personality traits. Some of us grew up in households that used technology on a regular basis and some of us are learning as we go. I grew up in a techie household and one of my earliest memories is sitting on my dad’s lap watching a computer program show us the phases of construction for the International Space station. I remember being in awe of his computer and wanting to try out more on it. Looking back I laugh at the tiny screen set in a huge monitor and tower and think about how far we’ve come. That said, if you were not raised in a digital household, adapting to technology use can be hard.

As strange as it sounds, we do need to remember that our students may not have the same access to technology that we have or would expect. Some of them will come in as technological wizards, and some with almost no prior tech knowledge or access. Each individual is different and needs a different kind of support.

Our school is a no personal device school. We have a zero tolerance policy for cell phones or personal devices, it is rare to even see a Kindle wandering the halls as students know all about the ban. This poses a challenge and helps to benefit the fine arts program. Students are less distracted during the day and are better able to focus on the tasks at hand. As a teacher I love and hate this as I want to incorporate more technology into the classroom but have limited access. We have a set of 15 Chromebooks in the classroom and I have done fundraisers to get some iPads for project creation. We utilize technology on a weekly basis and have learned to find creative ways to make things work.

My biggest challenge, as a teacher, is to find ways to incorporate the resources we are given in a way that benefits all of my students regardless of class size. Sometimes this task is easier than others. Kids are generally tech inclined but don’t always have the skill to complete an assigned task. By pairing them together, we solve the number problem and they get to become experts that teach each other. When we start a new skill, I have to demonstrate it to the class as a whole to ensure that everyone has a basic understanding. Repetition is key. With the transition to BLEND, I have had to demonstrate the authorization process over and over. It makes me slightly crazy, but then I remind myself how overwhelmed I was last year when we first rolled it out. It helps me get back in the mentor mindset.

Students all have their own ability and background, just as the teachers do, and bring their own understanding and experience to the class. We need to remember patience and practice, just like when learning a sport or activity. Just think back on when we were the ones learning and how frustrated we could get when facing an obstacle. The flip side of this is that we are always learning. This generation is incredible with technology and we can learn a lot from them. Be open minded to their needs and their awesome abilities. Meet them half way and give them the opportunity to learn and shine!

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