The good, the bad and the ugly-a technology lesson

It is day two of teacher set up and workshops.   It is a district workshop day and the district was working hard to listen and support the needs of teachers.

  • We want to stay in our buildings,
  • We need to work with our school community,
  • We need to work with technology

So a webinar was planned – teachers from 20 s0me school all learning about the districts new teacher evaluation plan at the same time, on their buildings computers.  We  were ready to learn how to fill out forms on line, schedule observations on line, upload lesson plans on line, there were new data charts to review and places to enter data from Words their Way, Fountas and Pinnell scores, and it goes on.

We did indeed sit together as a staff in our buildings, learning together but we learned very quickly what works and what does not work.  We learned where the line was for productive learning and where confusion and apathy takes over.

The good was the set up of many tutorials that we can come back to and review if needed.  The good was clear goals and expectations.  The bad arrived about two hours into the webinar learning.  We were losing focus – to many little details to hold on to in such a short amount of time.

Lunch came and the ugly arrived as a building full of teachers returned to sit in front of computers for 3 more hours. ( 6 total hours in the day at computers).   I, like everyone else had started the day excited about the use of technology, we were learning with teammates and we worked hard to stay positive and focused.    BUT –

Now as I sit at home and reflect on the day I can’t really remember what I learned.   I do remember sometime in the early afternoon reading one of the many, many slides and thinking I have no idea what it was telling me.

Ah yes,  this is what our students feel when we push and push with so many details, so much new information in one day.   The district planned mini lessons with follow up practice. They used good teaching practice.  The question is how many of those mini lessons can we do each day?   What is the over load point – the point when students are just looking at the work in front of them but it is no longer making sense.  What is the point when students slide from good, to bad and then to ugly?

I know I appreciated the day of technology not because I learned something new but because I was reminded what it feels like to be a student struggling to keep all the new data in my brain and to use it.

Are you scanning your room for the tipping point? I will be!  I really don’t need the ugly and I need my students to hold onto what they are learning.

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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2 Responses to The good, the bad and the ugly-a technology lesson

  1. I think your take-away, “this is what our students feel when we push and push with so many details, so much new information in one day,” bears repeating! There’s so much new-new-new and push-push-push that we forget to take the time to make sure that the information we’re giving out is useful and meaningful.

  2. Ramona says:

    Our district technology day is Monday. I’ll be hoping for just the good (without the bad and the ugly)! Good for us to be the learners on occasion and think about what if feels like to be on the receiving end of too much information.

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