I am reflecting on the Summer Technology Institute that I had the pleasure of facilitating in June 2013. I worked with two amazing facilitators and got to meet some great teachers who all had something to share.
During these three weeks, I was infused with knowledge about all things techy. Techie? Diana, one of my co-facilitators, created a symbaloo as a record of some of the websites and applications that we used: http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/newptechinstitute2013
Today, I wanted to take a few minutes to revisit that symbaloo to see what I am doing and what I am not doing. I find it amazing how many new types of technology that I was plugged into only a few months ago. At the time, my brain was lit up with all of the possibilities of ways to use everything in my classroom. There was the Summer of Making and the MOOCs and Tweetdeck was humming with people sharing ideas.
But then school began. I was learning students’ names. I was bombarded by deadlines and due dates. Curriculum charts. Team leader stuff. SMART goals. PLCs. Speech practice. And my brain’s shiny bright light dimmed suddenly into that battery powered emergency light that clicks on when all the power fails. The batteries lit my way through the caverns of adversity, but I’m trying to get the switch turned back on, so I can remember all that I’ve forgotten.
I swear, the biggest challenge of teaching is to keep all the balls in the air, and then add a new ball or two each year. I juggle and juggle and hope that the balls that I add aren’t too heavy.
So far, this year, my biggest addition has been the use of Google docs in my Creative Writing Class. We have shared folders for student portfolios. Students share their writing and are able to read and comment on one another’s work. It’s not a perfect system (yet?) but it is a working system. The ball that I threw in the air is pretty much staying afloat on its own. I have had to drop some other balls along the way, but as long as I can still connect to this summer, and think about all the wonderful people that I met and the ideas we shared, there is a light somewhere behind one of those doors.
Mixed metaphors anyone?