As someone who is passionate and truly geeky about the power of technology in education, I often hear from my fellow teachers, “I’m not really a techie person.” Now, I get where they are coming from because technology can be intimidating. Many times I’ve said, “I’m not really a math person.” I can “do” math and I can “learn” math but it doesn’t get me fired up quite like tech does. However, over the last few months educators who weren’t really “techie people” didn’t have much of a choice other than to use tech in order to do their job. I cannot imagine what that must have felt like for some educators. For some educators, it must have been terrifying. For me, it would have been like my Principal saying that I was now the new math consultant for the intermediate grades. It would have caused me serious panic and anxiety. I probably would have considered resigning but I would have dug in and done the best I could with the tools available to me and I would have reached out to fellow colleagues and leaned on their expertise. THAT is what teachers all over the province of Ontario were doing after the March Break, teaching and learning by the seat of their pants.
As an innovations consultant what I witnessed during the weeks of distance learning was fellow educators doing what they do best; rolling up their sleeves, getting in there and figuring the tech stuff out. As I (along with some fantastic and enthusiastic educators in my board) provided webinar workshops on technological tools for teachers, I saw teachers who were self proclaimed Luddites attending and showing appreciation for what we were doing. The resiliency of educators during this time has been absolutely amazing. The necessity of teaching through technology broke through an invisible barrier that has existed for those teachers who thought that you had to be a “techie person” in order to use tech in education. Teachers were no longer afraid to try a new technological tool, to make mistakes and ask questions. Teachers are discovering the power educational technology and they’ve been bit by the tech bug. Educators will always continue to seek out new and innovative ways to deliver curriculum to students and learn as they go-no matter how steep the learning curve. Some teachers who would have quickly proclaimed, “I’m not a techie person” before March Break are now excited about the possibilities of using technology even in their face-to-face classrooms. The Educational Technology Geek Community is over-the-moon excited about increasing it’s membership! We are a friendly bunch, inclusive, sharing and passionate and we’re happy to help.