Friday, September 6, 2013

Innovate. Create. Repeat. #edTech

Professional Development is kinda my thing. One of my favorite parts about my job is the opportunity to work with other educators providing them tools to use in their classroom. The look of joy and excitement when something clicks… it’s just magical! Watching their thinking and ideas grow is a pretty amazing process.

What I’ve learned over the last few years is that educators are natural learners and innovators. They get excited and once they are rolling with an idea… Sally, bar the door! It just takes a spark, a thought, an idea to get them started. Once they know that it is “okay” to be innovative and step up to try something new, it’s fairly smooth sailing. I want to let all of you in on a little secret. It will be the crux of your teacher toolbox. This one secret will set you free to explore, to try new things, to jazz up your classroom. It’s really simplicity at its finest.

During most professional development that I provide, the secret is shared with this TRUE story.

When I first moved to Houston to take my position as the Harmony Public Schools Instructional Technology Director, my family stayed behind to finish up the school year. One particular morning, I couldn’t get my 11 year old to answer her phone. I tried calling. I tried texting. No dice. Oh boy! She had obviously fallen back asleep. What to do? What to do? Her phone was probably on silent or vibrate and she couldn’t hear it.

My problem was not “How can I teleport 200 miles away?” No. My problem was "How do I wake an 11 year old who has fallen back asleep?“ **This is where the story is closing in on the secret. ** Because she has an iPhone (don’t ask), I logged into “Find My iPhone” and clicked Sound Alarm. Within one minute she called me wide awake and very startled! Mission accomplished :D

Did you catch the secret? You DO NOT have to use apps for their intended purpose. That app was designed for finding a lost or stolen phone. It was never meant to function as an alarm clock for families separated by a couple hundred miles. But it worked! And the app police didn’t come pick me up.

Don’t wait for someone to show you how to use a particular app. Make up your own use. We encourage that in our students; it’s labeled innovation. Before spending hours creating a new tool or endlessly searching an app store, inventory what you already have. Is there a way to innovatively use an app or resource you already have to meet your goal? Often the answer is yes! We simply miss the forest for the trees because no one has given us permission to use it “that way”. Well jot it down now! I’m giving you permission! Innovate. Create. Use. Repeat!

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