When our school received our first cart filled with 30 brand new, shiny iPads. My principal at the time, Jackie Howard, said to me, “Iram, this is all going to be you.” I went home that evening terrified. Tech doesn’t like me, it NEVER works. I don’t know what she was thinking!
Well, I sucked it up and acted like I knew what I was doing. Reflecting back, I have realized that I have learned many unexpected lessons from tech that have influenced other aspects of my life and career. Here are my top five.
Yes we are in the 21st century and tech can do amazing things, but sometimes it takes a little time for all the pieces you are trying to connect to register what you are asking it all to do. Who doesn’t work at a school that is trying to squeeze the limits of older tech on sketchy wifi, right? Just take a breath, and let it do what it is doing. That “circle of death” is now, for me, a “focus for meditation.” Who am I kidding, I hate the circle/line of death, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was a focus of meditation?
2. Have a Back-Up Plan… Or Twenty
If things aren’t going they way you planned, be prepared to shift gears and try another plan of attack. This is why it is important to have a variety of tech resources in your tool belt ready to pull out, like cords, dongles, apps, YouTube tutorials, the staff of Apple shrunk to an inch put away in your pocket etc.. There is nothing more frustrating than having a brilliant lesson ready to go and not being able to even begin because of “tech issues”. Most of the time, there are ways around the problem. Your tool belt just has to be full of different options and you have to allow yourself to think outside the box.
3. Let it Go
Sometimes, no matter what you try, things just don’t work at all. That’s when it’s okay to just shrug your shoulders, abort the mission and take time to chew on what went wrong.
4. Let it Go Part 2
The best way to teach tech and encourage tech integration is to let students and teachers explore and integrate it in their own personal lives. I can preach until my face turns blue, but until people have time to actually play, nothing will change. They will just look at you as the “crazy mentally unstable techie” who has drunk way too much of the kool-aid.
5. Build Capacity
The more people who learn the lessons above and the more we allow ourselves to learn from others no matter how old you are or what your job is, the easier it gets! It’s not rocket science!
Which leads me to the the phrase, “you are so techie”. I have realized this means more than just being able to set up and trouble shoot tech. It is a mindset. When someone asks me a tech question or throws a problem at me, I am now comfortable enough to say, “It’s okay, relax. I don’t know, but let’s figure it out.”