“RE@L Thought for the Week!” Vol. 9, 3/13/18: The Story of Old Zeke and His New Tractor: A Lesson for Educators Who Work with EdTech!
Here’s a good old technology story that will make you think again!
“A farm implement salesman wanted to sell a tractor to Old Zeke. Zeke was still farming with his old horse, Ezra, pulling the plow.
One day he told Zeke he would leave him a tractor to use for a week, at no charge for Zeke to try out. Zeke allowed that he’d give it a try.
The salesman came back a week later and asked Zeke how he liked the tractor.
“Oh, I liked it fine,” Zeke said, “and it sure was nice to be able to sit on that comfy seat while I plowed!
But old Ezra sure didn’t like that pulling the tractor around all day long!””
We educators in the know need to make sure the Zekes of the world who teach, old or young or in the middle, know how to use the many new educational technologies they’ve been given to try.
The last thing we want is to make more work for someone like a teacher who is already overworked!
If teachers don’t know how to use these new K12 EdTech tools correctly, like Zeke used his old horse Ezra, they are both going to get mighty tired in a quick hurry….and even worse, so will their students.
In a nutshell, we educators, whose goal it is that more kids learn more, need to set learning goals appropriate to each learner, and give them the tools and prescription to make those goals happen. We need to be sure everyone knows how to use these new EdTech tools.
This means we must know what those appropriate tools and resources are and how to use them effectively. It’s one thing to have EdTech tools in our classrooms, but quite another to have them in their students’ hands, enabling more extensive and deeper learning.
The graphic to the right reminds us that, if we educators want to use powerful tools, we need more and proper instruction to succeed.
These new tools can also be used by students, or teams of students, to show us that they really know. We believe report cards with their letters or checkmarks show very little about what a student knows and yet needs to know. What does a C+ or 79 really mean? Performance can show us.
Nothing beats performance: a student, or a team of students, presenting what they learned to other students, teachers, parents and even the community engages everyone. See the photo at the left.
What can teachers do to improve their EdTech skills you ask? Here are some tips: take more EdTech courses in your teacher training. If you are now out of school, latch onto a site like Learners Edge™ (click on the graphic to the right for more information). They provide continuing education options to educators anywhere and everywhere on many topics including EdTech skills.
Some educators who take these courses are freshening up their skills. Others need to meet re-licensure requirements. Still others earn credits for an advanced degree or college credit. There are many other options as well.
What’s helpful about Learners Edge is their courses are created by educators and contain helpful video resources. What’s imperative is that we who have EdTech tools, both students and teachers, know how to use them effectively!
One of our coming soon RE@L Blogs will present a story of a very different Ed Tech school and their dream of “more learning more” that went along with it.
Their dream was having access to a wide range of technologies and the training to go with it. More kids did learn more because their teachers knew more.
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