I just finished watching the Orioles beat the Pirates with the MLB.TV app on my iPad while completing distance learning doctoral work on my Macbook Pro. Earlier I enjoyed listening to Pandora radio while playing with my kids (my 13 month old enjoys rocking to Weezer… don’t tell my wife). It’s not about the technology, though.
While watching the Orioles, I shared a few key moments or great highlights with my wife (she was thrilled!). When completing coursework, it was easier online, but no different than face-to-face communication. Pandora radio is just a gigantic mixed tape, okay, cd of mp3s. It’s no different.
Then, why do teachers let technology get in the way of good teaching? When given laptops, Smartboards, e-readers, document cameras, etc, the technology seems to take over. It’s not about the technology.
When you and I remember our favorite teachers, there was probably a personal connection, a style of teaching, or a captivating personality that drew us in. It was my seventh grade Geography teacher’s love of music, his awesome miming of a person on an escalator, and the time he showed us a film strip on the ceiling. It was how my twelfth grade English teacher taught us literature he actually loved and quietly whispered “Mr. Baseball” when I walked into the room.
As digital teachers in a growing world of digital natives, do not become overwhelmed with the electrons whizzing around the room. Rest in the simplicity of teaching and human interaction. I believe that makes the difference.
To quote Thoreau, “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify.”