Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Reluctant Techie

I have often shared the story of how I was in the very last cohort at Western Michigan University that had the "old technology" course.  We were the final group to have mimeograph machines (remember the purple ink sheets?), a slide projector (that went "bing" when it was time for the next slide), and of course the old standby overhead projector.  The very next semester, the tech room was gutted and remodeled with modern equipment and computers.  At the time, I thought it was funny and I often bragged that I lucked out with an easy course.

In time, I realized that I hadn't lucked out or benefited from my lack of training and often commented that as a teacher and later as a principal that the technology coordinator was my best friend at school.  I leaned heavily on her support and did only the minimum amount of technology that was necessary.  What a poor example I was to my students and later to my staff.  Then a couple of years ago, things started to change. It began with using Google Docs.  Hardly a "breakthrough" in technology, but it became a tool that I started to use regularly.  Then I attended a session on educational blogging and that inspired me to start my own.  For the rest of the year, I continued to create a weekly blog to share with my staff.  Then at the start of the current school year, some significant things happened.  First, I presented with some of my principal peers about educational blogging.  The idea of me presenting at a "technology focused" training was something that NEVER would have occurred to me.  At that same training, I had a chance to see Adam Bellow present on ways to use technology in the classroom and it was inspiring.  Already pumped up about technology, I then stumbled into a Twitter session and everything changed.

Within a few months, I was connecting with educators from around the world, sharing my blog and reading others, and participating in "chats" that ranged from student engagement to book studies.  That one tool, Twitter, opened my eyes to so many ways to connect with other educators and exposed me to ideas and tools we can use in our classrooms.  I learned about "hour of code" from Twitter chats and to my surprise I found that my Media Specialist was already starting with our students (my eyes were opened to the great things happening with technology).  Next, I continued hearing stories of success when students got technology in their hands.  This led to a partnership with PTA and Title 1 funds to secure iPads for every classroom.  Just a few in each, but it's a start.  Most recently, I just registered for a course to become a Google Certified Educator.  The reluctant techie is finally starting to be replaced by someone who is willing to take risks and learn new ways to help staff and students with's energizing!

With Digital Learning Day coming up on March 13, I thought it was a great time to recommit myself to being the best educator I can be by modeling learning with technology. I want to help create 21st century learning environments for both students and staff. The potential is high and the possibilities are limitless. Has my knowledge base increased that much over the past year?  Not really.  What has changed over the past year is my attitude toward technology.  Anxiety has been replaced by excitement and perceived obstacles are now perceived potentials.  I share this story to demonstrate that if I can learn to embrace technology than anyone can...our students deserve it!

I think I'm still in Stage 4 at the moment:)


"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." B.F. Skinner

"Do you realize that if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight?" - Al Boliska

"Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo" - Mary Pickford


If you are on Twitter, I strongly recommend you follow these educators.  If not, you can still check out their pages by clicking on the links.  Lots of great ideas and stories!

Erin Klein @KleinErin

Ben Rimes @techsavvyed

Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd

Adam Bellow @adambellow


Monday, March 9: Student Perception Surveys given during LMC times all week
                               Classroom Observations during the week for K-2
Wednesday, March 11: IEP (Larabell) 8:15 am
Thursday, March 12: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
Friday, March 13: Jon in Title 1 Webinar 9:30-11:00 am

Wednesday, March 18: IEP (Limberg) 8:15 am
Thursday, March 19: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                                   Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm

Tuesday, March 24: PBS Committee 8:05 am
                                 Spring Pictures in Room 18
Wednesday, March 25: Achievement Team Meeting (Kindergarten Team) 8:15 am
Thursday, March 26: Staff Meeting 8:00 am (Grade Level Planning Time)
                                   Elementary Principals to Johnson 8:30-11:30 am
                                   Student of the Month Assembly 3:00 pm
                                   Skate Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 pm
Friday, March 27: No Students / Teacher Work Day


  1. Enjoyed reading about your "journey" to being a connected educator. Technology is one of those things that will be ever-changing, so we as educators will always have more to learn!

  2. Thanks for reading Jen! The interesting thing is that the more I'm learning the more motivated I am. It's very energizing:) Take care!