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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Keeping it Simple

When new technologies enter our lives, as Tarrier Apps has done this fall with gusto, we each have different reactions. Some respond with great enthusiasm and dive right in, finding excellent ways to incorporate it into their daily routines, implement it in their classrooms, or play around with it to discover what's possible. Others hold back and observe from the sidelines, perhaps waiting for the adrenaline rush to subside or for more structured guidance on how we can apply this in education.

For those of you jumping on board with this new tool, I encourage you to be thoughtful about simplicity

We have a mantra in the technology field, that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." This applies to all sorts of things, like social networking and privacy settings, adding bells and whistles to multimedia presentations, toying with audio and video effects in movie projects, and especially leaping in without testing the waters first. Technology does not replace teaching or content. We don't have to do everything all at once. There will still be times when a good old paper handout works better than an online form or shared doc. That's okay! It's important in your planning to be reflective of what will be most efficient for you to manage, as well as your students. While there are many things that Tarrier Apps can make easier for us, we need the time to experiment first, and feel comfortable wielding this tool.

The Google platform is collaborative by its very nature. Talk with your colleagues, get ideas for implementation, browse sites that have already been created, set up groups to test how things work. Then, when facing that lesson plan that could perhaps use some 21st Century tweaking, you will know if technology is a natural fit.  Start small, and let it grow. Teach each other. Let your students teach you. We're all in this together.

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