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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Problem with Checklists


I'm guilty. I just opened up my iPad case and 5 different lists of "things to do" fell out of it. We all need a source for organization and for me, writing it on a note ingrains it in my head, but that isn't the type of checklist I am talking about in this blog. I am talking about "integration checklists." IF we say "you have to use this, this, and this in your classroom" we are doing two things:

  1. Stiffling the creativity of teachers that look beyond the things they have been taught.
  2. Placing criteria for tech use into a checklist of "done this" which never leads to "tech inteGREATion." 
My views on this have changed over the years. In year one of having 3 iPad carts in the elementary school, the "requirements" were two projects based on current units of study with the technology coach. I'll be honest, I think the idea had massive value in that first year to push some teachers out of their comfort zone with a bit of handholding or to support teachers excited about the thought of technology but nervous about implementing alone. Year 2- the same "requirements" were there but I also saw an influx of teachers wanting to implement technology in their "centers"- blended learning began! We are at year 3 now and we started the year with the same "projects" requirement but for a few grades mandatory implementation of tech-based math instruction has also been added. Now that there is a comfortability for most of the teachers the struggle is "we want more iPad time and more iPads." I find myself researching for them more than ever before because they are thinking outside the box at "what if" ideas. I rarely have to twist arms or remind them of the "requirements."

Where am I now in what things should look like in the future? I think we are ready to move to expectations based on standards. Currently I see myself perusing the ISTE standards for teachers and students. I see next year perhaps looking differently with what can be seen as a bit more freedom for creativity. Next year, perhaps, we will base requirements on standards with concrete examples from the tech coach on ways to meet those standards. 

It has been exciting to see teachers wanting more iPads and iPad time for their classroom. It's been exciting to see the revelation of what technology can accomplish in the elementary classroom as well. Not everyone is "all in" and that is alright but some of our teachers are all up in the R of SAMR. 

I'm thankful for transformational classrooms that I have gotten to be a part of the planning of implementation. I'm thankful for teachers that are owning implementation. And I am thankful for the hesitant ones that make me dig deep and force me to prove the worth- it's always good to be reminded why you do what you do and what you believe in. I believe in technology coaching collaboration, using technology to support learning, and seeing technology used for consumption, curation, connection, and creation on a regular basis that makes some students super excited about learning.

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