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Tech Happens

This is the second of seven posts written by Dr. Tibby Lynch. This post was written in late November or early December 2009. I have included it as part of my 21st century pygmalion series of posts.

If there is a scene more unnerving to a teacher who still owns and fondly peruses the contents of all of her original file folders from 1974 to the present, it is entering a room full of glowing rectangles, each manned by a cheeky, tech-savvy young person.  I was in for it now.  Weeping uncontrollably was not an option.  Fortunately for me, Steve and Harry had opted out of a “tech tough love” strategy,  instituting instead a plan in which Steve would be in the majority of my classes with me for the first three or four weeks, and would be available during my planning periods to help me technologically rethink paper and pen assignments.  His presence in the classroom in the opening days of Quarter I was essential in several important ways.  (1) He was there to troubleshoot any initial difficulties as we:  set up the NING site, got the students registered, and began to experiment with ways for them to post, and me to assess, their work.  (2) He was there to model laptop instructional techniques:  how to keep the kids on task, when to 45 the screens, how to keep the discussions flowing.  (3) He was there to keep me from freaking out.  I would argue that while it is possible to “break in” to tech by yourself, if your personal profile in any way resembles mine, the presence of a tech mentor in and out of the classroom is essential.  By the end of three weeks, I felt confident enough to manage all of the daily assignments with a certain amount of aplomb.

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